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We are now entering on the year | encouraged. But the future is hid1851. A new year is ever an inter- den. A thick veil covers it. We esting and important period. At cannot see the path which lies before this season the thoughts naturally us, nor tell the circumstances of our tend onward, and if we are influenced future travel. God has reserved the by good and holy principles, we look future, the times and seasons,' in forward with the resolve that, God his own power.
He has done 50 helping us, we will be more devoted wisely, that all his creatures may feel to his service, more exemplary in our their dependance on him, and that consecration to his cause, and prepare his chosen people may commit their with renewed ardour for that world way to him, and trust in him, and where days, and months, and years not lean to their own understandare past, and where all is immutable ing.' He is wise and knows all and eternal. God has wisely hidden things.
He cannot err. He is bethe future from our sight. We are nevolent in his purposes to his chil. permitted, and the exercise is benefi- dren, and 'the thoughts that he cial, to review the past, and to take thinketh toward them, are thoughts lessons from our former course, its of peace and not of evil, to bring successes, its brighter and its darker them to an expected end.' He is aspects.
Like travellers we now faithful to all his promises, and will mount an eminence from which in lead those who trust in him, 'in a long perspective, we can see the way right way, to bring them to a city of in which we have been led. We mark habitation.' He may for the sake of the dangers we have avoided, the displaying his grace, of weaning his precipices near which we have walked, children from the world, of preparing the fair fields through which we have them for his rest,' lead them through passed, and the parts where we were difficult and dangerous paths, as he did cheered by the presence of friends, his ancient people. He may permit warmed by the sun light of heaven; them to be severely tried and afflictor where we walked in darkness, or ed, but as all the paths of the Lord contended with evil inf uences, whe- are mercy and truth, to such as keep ther from the world or from him his covenant,' so we know that all 'who walketh about seeking whom he things shall work together for good to may devour.' From this retrospect them that love God, to them who are we learn wisdom. We are excited to the called according to his purpose.' gratitude. We are animated and It is well, then, not to raise our expeco VOL 13.-N. S.
tations of the future, as to this world, dissenters feel outraged by this agtoo high, but to look up to God as gression of popery, some plead that our portion and our guide, and 'go what is done is a necessary conseforward in the strength of the Lord quence of religious liberty, and must God.'
be allowed to take effect, and that to Our ignorance of the future does take any step against it, is to deny not prevent our having a due regard true liberty to papists, and to help to things which are present, and esti. the church to dominate. We regret mation of their probable issues, and that any should be so misguided. preparing ourselves for them. There Popery is a power.
Its claims are are various circumstances which now for more than rule over its own peoaffect us, and have their prospective ple--and for more than spiritual rule bearings. These may become, law- over all. It cannot be bound by fully, the subject of our thoughts, oaths, and will not rest, unless now which may tend to prepare us for effectually resisted, until our liberties duties we may have to discharge, and as protestants, and our rights as Enfor trials we may be called to pass glishmen are subverted. As it is through. The fore-warned is fore- wrong to allow any man his full liberty armed. Who would have imagined, who is dangerous to the liberty and for instance, at the beginning of 1850, security of others, either from vicious that before its end, the pope of Rome, habits or an unsound mind, so the that mystery of iniquity, should have full liberty of popery, if that involves had the audacity to tell the world that claims and proceedings which trench England had become a Roman Catho- on the sovereignty of our queen, or lic country ? that he should have par- on the freedom of her subjects, cancelled it out as his exclusive territory, not with safety be allowed. The same and that his cardinal and bishops regard to the general good which should have assumed their territorial demands that a lunatic should be untitles ? yet this, within the past der restraint, and a known thief or months we have seen. This event, murderer should be captured, requires the boast of foreign papists, who, it this curtailment of pretended popish has been threatened, will come over freedom. What may be the course like another arm
rmada, and enforce taken by the government remains to popery on the reluctant nation, (vain be seen, but we can perceive only one boast, though made by a British course which can be safely adopted popish bishop !) this event, we say, by protestants of all classes in this has shaken England from her repose, country. Their liberties are invaded and awakened in every breast, except - they are threatened by a mysterious popish, anxious and resentful thoughts. and aggressive power, and the invasion The Protestant establishmentis every- must be repelled. where aroused, and feelings of no It has been, our readers are aware, measured order have been enkindled the opinion of many learned and towards the papistical tendencies of good men, that popery will once many in the Establishment.
It is more obtain its crushing and cursed loudly demanded that they shall be predominance in this country. They cast out of her pale, and their mum- have grounded this opinion on the meries be discountenanced. Out of mode in which they have interpreted the Establishment, unhappily, there the Apocalypse. We do not profess has been some division as to what is to have adopted their opinion, though the proper course to pursue at this we are not absolutely certain that it juncture. We regret this, but are is erroneous. Prior to the great batnot surprised. While all protestant tle of Armageddon, there may be a return to former power. And even of earnest protestantism and loyalty now, if the British government trans- which so generally pervades the peoport the cardinal archbishop to Italy, ple of this land, and which has disor elsewhere, the same principle that played itself so universally, and the led the French to bombard Tahiti, almost unanimous voice of the public will require that they declare war press, lead us to indulge the hope against England! We say the re- of such a happy result. Should this sumption or not of popish power in be the case, the year of 1851 will be this country is not a settled point in the commencement of a happy era, our mind, but there can be no doubt an epoch to which in years to come that the attempt at such a resump- our descendants will refer with grati. tion will be made, and that the late tude and triumph, and on account of proceeding of the popedom has that which sincere and holy praise will aspect, we presume none will have surround the throne of God. the temerity to deny. Should such a But there are other obstacles to result follow, what will then be the true religion which have had, in time position of protestant dissenters ? and past, their chilling and deleterious how will they look on those who at influence on pure and scriptural relithe incipient operations and invasions gion in our land. These are not yet of the popedom, not only refused to entirely subdued. It is true the hyresist, but ridiculed and opposed those pocritical scepticism imported from of their brethren, who contended Germany, and which is found in the against the papal assumptions ? writings of Carlyle, and others of his
It may be, and we would fain hope class; and which has been propagated this will be the consequence of the by certain flippant lecturers, and laudpresent agitation, that popery, which ed by many to whom the humbling with all its pretensions, has made truths of revealed religion are disvery few real converts in this king- tasteful, is now beginning to be undom, will henceforth be more univer- derstood. Its vain pretensions are sally abandoned and contemned, truly estimated. Its mystery has been that protestantism in our establish- penetrated, and found to be a mere ment will be purified that every reviving of old and exploded Gnostithing which savours of popish incli- cism and pantheism, and the chrisnations will be frowned down—and tian phrase in which it cloaked itself that all classes of christians among has been stripped off, so that its litus, will become more truly scriptural, tleness, deformity, emptiness, and spiritual, zealous, and devout. This vanity are made bare. There is will be a happy result. Good will henceforth little to fear from infidelity then come out of evil. The breeze in this shape. The father of lies which has passed over the country must now have recourse to some will have cleared the spiritual and other expedient to corrupt or undermoral atmosphere, and produced a mine the truth in these realms. We bracing effect on every one breathing are not ignorant of his devices,' nor and living in it. The only things of the degree to which those who are which are incommoded are the owls deceived by them imbibe his hateful and bats to which were cast the relics spirit. Still this device, like most of pagan worship. Such an issue will others, when the mystery in which call for devout thanksgiving. It will they are enshrouded is taken away, elevate our nasion. It will call down has exhausted itself, and is laid with the blessing of God. It will indicate its abettors in the mire. There is, the smile and presence and rule however, still, what has ever been, a among us of him who is · King of large amount of brutish and vulgar kings and Lord of lords.' The spirit | infidelity, which flourishes amongst the low and licentious. How this, mind that it produces and sustains is can be penetrated, and how its poor higher, holier, more correct, and be. and wretched victims can be brought nevolent, and serene, than that proto reason, and emancipated from their duced by the dreams of any philoso. hellish bondage, is a question of no phy, or the fancies of any contempti. common interest. More is now being ble pretender, brought forward to attempted in this way than formerly. supercede it. The word of the Lord Town missions, lectures to the work- endureth for ever ;' but the fashion ing classes, religious tracts, and the of this world passeth away.' improved tone of some parts of the Live near to God by prayer and public press, and of general society, an humble dependance on his ways. will, we trust, in time, more effectu. Walk with God. Trust in his
proally leaven the whole lump. The mises. Pray for the prosperity of various theorists of scepticism offer to Zion-for the advancement of divine no man that which will effectually truth—for the overthrow of errorquiet his conscience, or prepare him and for the coming of his kindom. calmly and tranquilly to meet death Be attentive to the instruction of and eternity. Nothing can do this the young. Let them know the but the religion of the holy Scriptures groundwork of our faith. Reveal to the gospel of the grace of God.' them the history of popish errors and There is now, happily, little reason abominations. Fill their minds with to fear the spreading of infidelity. just principles and correct knowledge, The state of the public mind as to that they in their turn may contend the christian religion is now far dif. earnestly for the faith once delivered ferent from what it was at the begin. unto the saints. Let this be an object ning of the last century. Then, Dr. to be aimed at by every parent, by Butler tells us, it was treated as if every pastor, and by every Sabbathits fictitiousness, an agreed school teacher, and God will bless you. point among all people of discern- This is no time for indolence, or ment.' Now, indeed, the agreed indecision. We are yet in an enepoint is exactly the reverse, and the my's country. The church militant soundness of his discernment who must not expect to be free from hesitates to admit the truth of chris- conflict. 'In this world ye shall tianity, is at once and properly called have tribulation.' Let us one and in question. This appears in two all enter on the coming year with ways. The general class of avowed these views and resolutions, and then infidels in the present day are men of we may be assured of the presence low and abandoned morals, and the and blessing of the Captain of our late attempt to propagate it, hypo- salvation.' critically assumed the guise of chris- Let the same earnestness and zeal tianity, and spoke of religion as God's characterize our efforts in relation to best gift to man.
all our Connexional movements and In the mean time, when entering Institutions. Let our Sabbath-schools, on our journey through another year, our Tract Societies, our Missionary it will be well for all christians, both Associations, both Home and Foreign, as individuals and communities, to our School of the prophets, participate adhere to first principles. Cleave in the benefit of our renewed enerclosely to the Holy Scriptures as gies and resolves, and it may be, God's best and infallible gift to guide spite of all opposing influences, that us into his truth. Let that be the in no year of our history have we rule of our doctrine, of our thoughts, made greater and better progress and of our life. This is an infallible than in the year of our Lord, one and a divine standard. The state of thousand eight hundred and fifty-one.
THE SPIRIT OF THE AGE-A FALLACY.
BY JANES LEWITT.
“The Spirit of the Age' is a phrase spirit of the age. If he be a religious uttered by disputants, in almost every teacher—is old-fashioned enough to controversy which agitates modern love pure primitive christianity-besociety. Beneath it an idea is sup- lieves that there cannot be anything posed to rest, that has only to be new in theology, that ordinances instimentioned to frown into oblivion tuted by Christ should be maintained many other ideas, which, if not so and celebrated intact, and according new, are at least as definite and philo- to the pattern ;' and above all things sophic. If a man feels that he ought is bold enough to avow that he has not to be reckless of time-honoured 'a creed' and loves it, and should convictions and institutions, and has think himself devoid of principle if he firmness enough to do what every had not one; he is regarded as bewise man will recognize as a duty, longing to a byegone time ; is told namely, to assert that there is a pre- that his horoscope should have been sumption against all changes, but, cast in the past generation, and that especially against those from which his stern and unbending faith, and no positive advantage can be derived; earnest endeavour to propagate his he is met by the reply, that his senti- views, will fall pointless and unproments are not in accordance with ductive on both men and manners, be'the spirit of the age. If he be a cause no moral convictions can sucvenerator of a political organism, cessfully compete for popular adopwhich he would not lightly see sacri- tion, which do not accord with the ficed to the creations of recent vision- spirit of the age.' aries and theorists; if through an It perhaps requires more moral acquaintance with history, he is suf- firmness to combat this argument, ficiently courageous to resist the inno. than logical acuteness to expose and vations of these improvers of ancient explode it. For we opine, that there social economies, whose fitness for their is more of the heroic in breasting a vocation consists in crudity, ignorance, stream of popular faith, than there is or clamour, he must expect to have virtue in launching upon its tide. raised against him the all-potent argu- The frequent hearing of the phrase ment of the spirit of the age.' If he placed at the head of this article, be a literary man, and conscious of combined with a moderate share of the immense influence exerted by the opportunity for observing the danpriesthood in which he is classed, on gerous tendency it unfolds, have the stability, happiness, and progress prompted the production of this paof society : if he be one of those quaint per; and we entreat the candour of old characters, who insist on clear our readers to the thoughts it condefinitions, sound thought, and modest tains. style, and believe and teach that men We would here enquire what is are more benefitted by old truths, the meaning of the phrase, 'spirit of clad in homespun linsey-wolsey attire, the age? Those who abruptly settle than by new ideas arrayed in all the all questions by it, ought at least to dashing drapery which modern lite-attach to it a precise and intelligible rary mercers 'keep to order :' such a meaning, and to define the extent of man will find, wherever he looks, that its application. This, however, is by his sentiments are not in favour with no means the rule : in many cases those who stake their pretensions to the phrase is a mere cant one, and is truth on, swear by, and worship the employed to cover a want of sincerity,