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reference, indeed, and holy awe, but still with trust and love, to him who sits as a refiner and purifier of silver;" for the fire that he pours forth over the world, terribly as its flame may blaze, and painful as may be its effects, destroys and consumes not, it but cleanses and purifies; it resembles not the flame, which, raging, ungovernable, and destructive, rushes through the dwellings of men, but the fire which the artist with design and caution kindles in his laboratory, and renews and extinguishes at the proper time.'-pp. 65–67.
It is not the least valuable part of the discourse, that it directs the reader to take those views of the history of the world, which sanctifies the office of knowledge and experience, and enables us to survey the past as it lies spread behind us under the light and steady rays of a sacred philosophy. We have seldom read any observations of this nature with more satisfaction than the present.
• But further, history also teaches us, that at all times much evil perished in the whirlpool of appalling events and opinions; constitutions and customis sank in it, which only the force of a devastating torrent could exterminate, Such an effect, for instance, was produced by the irruption of the nations which took place in the fifth century, and which appears to us as a judgment of God, ihat the Romans brought down upon themselves, first, by an insatiable spirit of conquest and an overbearing oppression of the nations, and then by a deep corruption of morals that made them weak and effeminate. Unspeakable calamity to the south and west of our quarter of the globe was the consequence of this event : many cities were destroyed, and whole countries converted into deserts. But much that was evil and pernicious perished at the same time. Rapacious Rome, that had heavily offended against three quarters of the world, was destroyed, and the iron and burdensome yoke of her dominion was taken off the neck of the subject world, and the enervated effeminacy, and languid, worn-out existence of a degenerate race, gave way to the fresh life of ruder, indeed, but more youthful and vigorous nations. Or would you bave an example from modern history ? Consider the event, on account of which posterity will call our age the age of revolution. It was the judgment of God, which France called down by her thirst of conquest, which acquired, indeed, some provinces, but had wasted her wealth by her immorality; which dissolved the bands of domestic and social life by her infidelity; which shook the foundations of rectitude and integrity; and by the contentions of her citizens, one part of whom obstinately maintained oppressive privileges, and, by dissolute living, mocked at the general distress, while another would not acknowledge any distinction of ranks, nor comply with any ordinances. Inexpressible calamity was certainly the result not only to France, but to all Europe. But we must look upon this also as a purification of the world; for much that was noxious and pernicious was swallowed up in the abyss of revolution. It has taken away in many places privileges founded on relations long since changed, which one class maintained to the disadvantage and detriment of the other classes of civil society, and removed the restrictions of the exercise of religion, which in most countries the stronger had imposed upon the weaker; equality of civil rights and freedom of divine worship, though some nations may not yet have the full enjoyment of these benefits, will VOL. XIII.
accrue, as a permanent gain, from the ferment and the struggles of recent times, and will descend to future generations.
Thus the divine judgment extirpates what is evil and corrupt, removes oppressive relations of life, puts an end to decayed forms of government, and changes the opinions and habits of nations. But at the same time it proves that which is good. It is misfortune that exercises moral strength, and tries charity, confidence, and courage. He who preserved his charity amidst the struggles of hostile passions; he who trusted in God, when destiny was enveloped in the gloom of night; be who stood firm and unshaken, even when the ground trembled beneath his feet; him has the cleansing judgment of God proved. That which is true and good must go through the storms of events that agitate countries and change the world, in order that its subsistence under every alteration of opinions, customs, and relations, may demonstrate its Divine origin, and its connexion with the essential wants of human nature; for we justly assume, that the ground of such imperishable duration lies not in fortuitous causes, but in the Everlasting himself. Thus has Christianity been proved to be the work of God and eternal truth, since, in the midst of falling kingdoms and adverse schools of human wisdom, it survived and sank not, when a whole nation publicly renounced it, and half the world was unfaithful to it.'-. pp. 68---71,
The concluding portion of this excellent address is powerful and affecting, and is of a character calculated to leave deep impressions on the mind of the hearer or reader.
*To observe the history of the world as a continued judgment of the world, is a serious contemplation : but by means of viewing it in this light it acquires a religious character, so that we see in it not merely a spectacle of changing forms and appearances, but a manifestation of God; and though his tinger is not always clearly to be perceived, yet we may every where be sensible of his rule and superintendence. And however grave and serious this consideration may be, yet it is at the same time consolatory, for this judicial visitation is also a purification of the world, so that not only the justice but also the goodness of God is revealed in it. God does not destroy the kingdoms which have been aggrandised by conquest and robbery, with this intent only, that they may crumble into ruins, but that it may be made manifest to the world, that every work of unrighteousness bears the germ of destruction within itself: he does not give up indolent and effeminate nations to the yoke of slavery, that they may wear perpetual chains, but that they should learn under oppression to be conscious of their strength, and raise themselves again with vigour and courage : discord and confusion are not spread through the people, who scorned what was just and sacred, that they may exterminate each other in endless civil wars, but that they may reform and return to God and to a regard for rectitude. The judging is also the cleansing of the world ; and now a consolatory view of the history of the world is opened to us, for we trace through its dark paths the steps of him, who bears the sword in his right hand, but the palm-branch in his left, who can indeed strike, but also heal, and turn mourning into joy. • To
preserve the belief, that the world is purified through God's judgments, is, further, important on this account, because it exercises, especially in times when the government of Divine justice is more obviously apparent,
an awakening and consoling influence on our hearts. Both the solemnity of the Lord in judgment, and the love of the Father cleansing the sinful world, must, when the judgment of God is revealed on us and cur contemporaries, lead us to reflection, and from that to repentance, and from repentance to amendment. Every one shares, more or less, in the general guilt; we must, therefore, all bow in humility and contrition before the Mighty One, when he executeth judgment. No one is clean; it is incumbent, therefore, on every one, when he sees the visitation gone forth in the age in which he lives, to rise and meet God who would draw men to him by his visitations, and open his heart, that he also may be cleansed and purified to that grace, which does not always descend as gentle dew, but sometimes as the fire of lightning.
• Forget not then, my friends, the call of Divine grace recently emitted from tempestuous clouds; and keep the vows you made to God in the days of distress. The Divine judgment is a rousing from the sleep of sin; and happy are all they, who awake and stand up, and turn from levity and folly to serious wisdom, from iuxury and licentiousness to pure morals, from selfishness and injustice to strict integrity and sympathizing charity, from a vain love of the world to that faith, which teaches us to overcome the world. And when the judgment of God leads to your sanctification, then, my friends, then you will feel the consoling power of the belief, that it is a purification of the sinful world. For then you will be certain through your own experience, that calamity sent from God has an object; and your conviction, that all the ways of God are wisdom and goodness, will rest on the surest grounds; so that you will be able to contemplate disastrous occurrences, if not without tears, yet without immoderate lamentation, and to support with courage and composure, whatever the time of visitation may compel you to bear.
• It is, lastly, of advantage to maintain the belief that the world is purified through God's judgments, because it leads us to expect the maturing to perfection of our species. However often the goldsmith melts the metal and repeats the refinement; his end is at length attained, the silver lies before him, pure and spotless, clear and bright as crystal or the dew-drop sparkling in the morning sun. In like manner must the design of God with respect to our race be finally accomplished. Long as the trial may last, often as the purification may be repeated, the day must come at length, when man, unspotted and clean, freed from sin, and glorified, shall stand before his Maker and Fashioner.'—pp. 73–76.
We recommend this volume, which does Mr. Baker great credit as a translator and editor, to the general attention of our readers. To those who are at all interested in the inquiry respecting the state of religion on the continent, it will prove of remarkable interest, but it is also equally valuable, if not more so, as a collection of excellent discourses full of striking and impressive views of religious truth, and furnishing the readers of sermons with an addition to their collection, which will be of real use to them, as being wholly free from tame imitations of the style and ideas of those they have already perused.
Art. XIV.-An Introductory Lecture upon the Study of Theology and of
the Greek Testament, delivered at the opening of the Theological Institution, Saturday, Nov. 21st, 1829. By the Rev. Thomas Dale,
M. A. London: Taylor. 1829. The object of the Theological Institution is so excellent that we cannot too highly applaud the serious and benevolent spirit in which it has originated. We alluded, some time ago, to the question respecting the introduction of religious instruction into the University of London, and we then endeavoured to show, that it could not be wanting to a place of education without greatly diminishing its usefulness, if not perverting its design. We confess we cannot assent to the conclusion which Mr. Dale would draw from the particular circumstances of the Institution, of which he is so active a member. Ought it even to have been a possible question, in the arrangements of a great public school for youth, whether religious instruction shall be provided for those who have learned to appreciate its value, and are willing to exert themselves for its attainment ? "Whether it shall be accessible to any ?' Ought it to have been even doubted, in an age like the present, whether young persons should or should not be left to the equal chance of becoming sceptics or Christians? Or ought any matter of mere convenience to have prevented a recognition of the value and necessity of religion ? We are confident that Mr. Dale is himself conscientiously convinced by the reasons which he has urged in defence of the University, but we are unable to discover any thing in his arguments which are not trebly confuted by the very measure which he and other friends of religion have thought it necessary to take, and the adversaries to the Institution altogether will not find it difficult to point their arrows with satire, when they have a lecture before thein, headed. University of London,' but purporting to have been delivered at the opening of The Theological Institution, which institution, it is expressly said, is altogether distinct from and independent of the University.
But we turn to a pleasanter theme, the ingenious plan which Mr. Dale has laid down for the future instruction of his theological pupils, and which does him great credit for the wide scope it embraces, and for the order and arrangement of the subjects. We extract his observations on the evidences of Revelation :
• The Evidences of Revelation must be twofold, Internal and External. Those Evidences, in relation to Christianity, are termed Internal, which result from the obvious excellence of its design, the expedience and utility of its precepts, their tendency to promote the general good, and from comparison in these and many other respects with the principal systems of religion, which are or have been prevalent among mankind. It is evident that Natural Theology must enter most deeply into the determination of these points. In fact, without its aid, we could scarcely arrive at any satisfactory conclusion, for it must supply us with the very data of our argument.
• These Internal Evidences, again, may be subdivided into those which are direct, and which are indirect,—there existing between them this important difference, that the energy of the former depends upon their being combined ; of the latter, on their being kept single and distinct. The former are like the brooks which gradually swell into a river; the latter like standing pools, which, although separate and insulated, indicate the vicinity of a stream. The former are so familiar, that to specify them would be superfluous :—some of the latter are;—the immediate effect of the preaching of Christianity; its fitness for an universal religion; the condition and capacity of those by whom it was promulgated, each apparently so utterly inadequate to the mighty result; the conception of the character of Christ, which has no parallel nor precedent in any of the writings known to have been extant at that time. All these, viewed separately and singly, are of peculiar importance in regard to the chain of collective and connected evidence, which may be called in words appropriate to its excellence, though very differently applied,
• The golden, everlasting chain,
embrace holsd heaven !' In like manner the External Evidences to the truth of the Christian Revelation may be divided into direct and collateral; the one being the argument from miracle and prophecy; the other, a numerous and diversified class, the nature of which will be easily inferred from the specification of a few. Such, for example, are, the connection between the claims of John Baptist to a divine mission and those of Jesus; the miraculous conversion of the Apostle Paul; the opposition of ancient infidels; and the present dispersed and insulated state of the Jews. There are also collateral evidences applying equally to both divisions of internal and external, together with presumptive evidence for the religion of the Bible in general, forming on the whole an accumulated coherent mass of evidence, the weight and energy of which can only be estimated by means of profound investigation. Many believe their religion to be true, who know little of the nature and number of the evidences which render it impossible that it should be false.'pp. 15–17.
No means, we are convinced, will be spared, either by the lecturer or his associates, to effect the purposes of the Institution. Some of those intended to be immediately employed are mentioned :
• That a system of Theological Instruction, framed in strict correspondence with this outline, if conducted with assiduity on the part of the Teacher, and attended with only common diligence by the Pupil, may be productive of the most beneficial results; that the Student may thus become more firmly rooted in his faith, and more prepared to defend it against the attacks of those adversaries, from whom, in our days, no condition in life can be exempt, is not, I trust, presumptuous to hope. Perhaps no small proportion of the prevalent indifference to religion among the superior classes of society, may be traced to its comparative exclusion from the plan of a liberal education, in which it is too often regarded as subordinate, even where it is not omitted as superfluous. It becomes, therefore, most desirable to recommend the study of Theology by inducements similar to those which have ever been found so effectual in the various departments of Science and Literature, and consequently, that no proper encouragement may be wanting to the Student of this Institution, its noble and honourable friends and patrons, I am authorised to state, will take not only a lively but an active interest in its management: they will bestow on it