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down. Soon afterwards, they got a recruiting sergeant with his drum, &c. to pass through the congregation. I gave the word of command, and ordered that way might be made for the king's officer. The ranks opened, while all marched quietly through, and then closed again. Finding these efforts to fail, a large body, quite on the opposite side, assembled together, and having got a large pole for their standard, advanced towards us with steady and formidable steps, till they came very near the skirts of our hearing, praying, and almost undaunted congregation. I saw, gave warning, and prayed to the Captain of our salvation, for present support and deliverance. He heard and answered ; for just as they approached us with looks full of resentment, I know not by what accident, they quarrelled among themselves, threw down their staff, and went their way, leaving, however, many of their company behind, who, before we had done, I trust, were brought over to join the besieged party. I think I continued in praying, preaching, and singing (for the noise was too great at times to preach, about three hours. We then retired to the Tabernacle, with my pockets full of notes from persons brought under concern, and read them amidst the praises and spiritual acclamations of thousands, who joined with the holy angels in rejoicing that so many sinners were snatched, in such an unexpected, unlikely place and manner, out of the very jaws of the devil. This was the beginning of the Tabernacle Society. Three hundred and fifty awakened souls were received in one day, and I believe the number of notes exceeded a thousand. But I must have done, believing you want to retire to join in mutual praise and thanksgiving to God and the Lamb, with
“ Yours, &c.
“G.W." Since the times when these things occurred, a very important and extensive change has taken place, both in the state of the metropolis and the country at large : yet that would be a dispensation of no common mercy which should, at the present moment, raise up another Whitfield or another Wesley. There is as much scope as ever, and as deep necessity too, for the apostolic labours of men, who should go forth, like these devoted and energetic evangelists, through the length and breadth of the land. It is obvious that a somewhat different qualification would be necessary in the present day. They had to make aggressions upon a spirit of universal apathy and proAligacy; but, in the present age, the great impediments to the spread of gospel truth are of a different kind. The most formidable which strike us are worldly mindedness, and an extraordinary, widespreading and desolating leaven of popery, which, under the name of protestantism and zeal for the church, is contaminating even evangelical doctrine itself, and perverting hundreds and thousands of those who hear the name of christian teachers. The very essence of those doctrines which effected the Reformation, and constituted the moral strength of the men who wrought it, is openly and extensively assailed. With the established church this canker is deeply radicated, and is working more disastrously than the friends of gospel truth generally seem to be aware. Never was there a period that more imperatively required a warning voice-a trumpet to give a certain sound-a standard to be lifted up for the glory and the truth of the gospel. The spirit of popery is rife in our schools and colleges, and what will be the issue of the onset, which is now commencing against evangelical doctrine, it is not easy to foresee. It would become those especially, who profess attachment to pure and scriptural protestantism, to watch the signs of the times, and see that they lose no
opportunity of exposing and resisting this antichristian power, which is arming itself against the simple and unadulterated Word of God.
We beg leave, in connexion with these observations, to call the attention of our readers to an admirable letter in the third volume of the work now before us, written by Mr. Knox to the Rev. J. Jebb, afterwards Bishop of Limerick. The whole is too long for extract, but we shall cite the principal passages : “My Dear MR. JEBB,
Shrewsbury, Jan. 25, 1801. 16 * * * True religion is happily contagious; and I am sure it owed its rapid progress, in the early ages of the church, infinitely more to the divine infection, (if I may use such an expression, that attended the spirit of the apostles, than to the demonstrative evidence of the miracles. I believe there never yet was a really good man, I mean a zealous, decided Christian, whose lively expression of his own feelings did not, more or less, reach the hearts of those who heard him. And this, in some degree, answers your question, What Christian preaching should be ? At least it points out an indispensable pre-requisite : Christian preaching can arise only from a christian mind and heart. This is the great want in the preaching of to-day: there is no spirit in it. There is the result of a kind of intellectual pumping : there is no gushing from the spring. Our Saviour, speaking to the woman of Samaria, of the happiness which his religion would bring into the bosoms of those who cordially embrace it, elegantly and expressively represents it, by a well of water in the breast, springing up into everlasting life. Where this is in a minister it will spring out, as well as spring up; and it will be felt to be living water, from the pleasure and refreshment which it conveys, almost even to minds bitherto unaccustomed to such communications.
“A witty poet has well said,
The specious sermons of a worldly man,
Fires at our vices, and the shot takes place.' “ But you also ask, “What do I conceive to be the mean between cold morality and wild enthusiasm ?' To this I answer, that the mean between all extremes is Christianity, as given in the New Testament. An attention to the exhibition of Christ's religion, as taught by himself; as exemplified in the Acts of the Apostles; and as expanded and ramified in the Epistles, particularly of St. Paul,—is the best and only preservative against coldness, against fanaticism, and against superstition. But let me tell you, that this simple direct view of Christianity has very seldom been taken. Most men, in all ages, have sat down to the gospel with a set of prejudices, which, like so many inquisitors, have laid the Christian religion on a bed, like that of Procrustes; and, as it suited them, either mutilated it by violence, or extended it by force. I agree, however, with Mrs. Chapone, in her ingenious essay on the subject, that coldness is a far more dangerous extreme than over-much heat. The one may consist with real goodness; nay, may be the consequence of real goodness, commixing with a perturbed imagination, or an ill-formed judgment. But coldness can be resolved only into an absolute want of feeling. Enthusiasm is excess, but coldness is want of vitality. The enthusiast, in a moral view, is insane; which implies the possibility of recovery, and, perhaps, a partial or occasional recurrence of reason. The cold person is like the idiot, where reason never shows itself, and where convalescence is desperate. VOL. I. N. S.
" But let it ever be remembered, that he who has really found the mean between the two extremes, will and must be reckoned enthusiastic, by those who are in the extreme of coldness. This, however, is a digression. I return to the New Testament view of Christianity. Now this, I repeat, (for the reasons above given) is most surely to be sought in the New Testament itself. And the representation given of Christianity there, differs, in my mind, from that given in most pulpits, in very many and very important instances. I shall notice two instances particularly :-1. Christianity is represented in most pulpits rather as a scheme of external conduct, than as an inward principle of moral happiness, and moral rectitude.
“In modern sermons you get a great many admonitions and directions, as to right conduct: but what David asked for so earnestly, is seldom touched upon, • Create in me a clean heart, O God! and renew a right spirit within me.' Now the New Testament dwells on this as its main object : Make the tree good,' says Christ, and its fruit will also be good :'- Except ye be converted, and become as little children, you can in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.' These expressions evidently imply, that, in order to be Christians, persons must undergo a moral change; that Christianity is designed to make them something which they are not by nature; and that the alteration produced in the mind, the affections, and the conduct, by a right and full acquiescence in the gospel, is so radical, so striking, and so efficacious, as to warrant the strongest imagery, in order to do it justice, that language can furnish.
" Except a man,' says our Lord, be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God:' "if any man,' says St. Paul, be in Christ, he is a new cresture; old things have passed away ; behold, all things are become new. If ye, then, be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above; for ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. Being justified by faith, we have peace with God, by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us.' And to quote but one passage more from St. Paul, “They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affections and desires.'
“Now, what, I ask, do these expressions imply? After every fair allowance for figure and metaphor, do they not convey a far deeper and more mysterious view of Christianity than is commonly adverted to ? Some divines, I know, endeavour to explain these and similar passages, as if they referred rather to a relative and extrinsic, than to a real and internal change; as if they meant merely proselytism from heathenism to Christianity, and initiation into outward church privileges. But this miserable mode of interpretation is flatly inconsistent with the whole tenor of the New Testament. It is not heathenism, but moral evil, which is here pointed out as the grand source of human misery: and the aptitude of the gospel to overcome and ertirpate this moral evil, is what is dwelt upon as its great and leading ercellence. These, therefore, and all similar passages, must be understood in a moral sense : and when so understood, how deep is their import! To suppose that there is not a spirit of appositeness in these figurative expressions, would be to accuse the apostles and Christ himself of bombastic amplification : but, if they have been thus applied, because no other ones were adequate to do justice to the subject, I say again, what a view do they give of Christianity!
“With these passages of Scripture, and many similar ones—nay, with the whole tenor of the New Testament in my view, I hesitate not to say, that Christian preaching consists, 1. In representing man to be by nature, (I mean in his present fallen state,) a weak, ignorant, sinful, and, of course, miserable being; as such, to be liable to God's displeasure; and to be absolutely incapable of enjoying any real happiness, either here or hereafter. The passages of Scripture which prove this are innumerable : I shall give but a few. You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sin,' The carnal mind is enmity against God.' "The carnal man knoweth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
• They that are in the flesh cannot please God.' Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God.'
“Nor are we to suppose that these texts speak only of the grossly wicked. St. Paul repeatedly explains such statements to belong to all mankind, until they are brought to repentance, and are inwardly, as well as outwardly changed by divine grace. And, in fact, our own experience confirms the truth of this. For, if we look around us, whom do we see either truly good or truly happy? Some there are, unquestionably; though, too generally, in a very low and imperfect degree. But how rarely do we discern what St. Paul calls the fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Yet, surely, the possession of these tempers is just as essential to Christianity now, as it was in the days of St. Paul: now, as well as then, it is an immutable truth, that if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.'
“To show, then, strongly and feelingly, the misery, not only of sinful actions, but of that carnal, worldly, indevout, un feeling state of mind, in which most men are content to live; and to point out the absolute necessity of a change from that state, into a humble, watchful, spiritual, devout, filial frame of mind, is, in my opinion, the very foundation of all Christian preaching; as it is, in truth, the key-stone of Christianity. The very word for repentance points out the reality and depth of this change ; uitavota, 'a transformation of mind.' And our Lord's words to St. Paul clearly explain wherein that change, that petavola consists : 'to open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light; and from the power of Satan unto God:' that is, to enlighten them with a divine and saving knowledge of what is true and good; to fill their hearts with the love of it; and to furnish them with the power to perform it. The blessings consequent upon this change immediately follow : 'that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among them that are sanctified, through faith that is in me.'
“ Christianity, then, in this view, is really what St. Paul calls it, The power of God unto salvation. When thus pursued, I mean, when a deep sense of inward depravity and weakness excites a man to seek divine knowledge and divine grace, in order to the enlightening of his mind, and to the renewing of his heart; when this view produces conscientious watchfulness, excites to fervent habitual devotion, and presents to the mind, in a new light, God's inestimable love, in the redemption of the world by his Son; then, by degrees, sometimes more rapidly, sometimes more slowly, the true christian character begins to form itself in the mind. Then the great things spoken of Christianity, in the New Testament, begin to be understood, because they begin to be felt. The vanity of earthly things become more and more apparent: that divine faith which gives victory over the world, begins to operate : religious duties, once burdensome, become delightful; self-government becomes natural and easy; reverential love to God, and gratitude to the Redeemer, producing humility, meekness, active unbounded benevolence, grow into habitual principles; private prayer is cultivated, not merely as a duty, but as the most delightful exercise of the mind; cheerfulness reigns within, and diffuses its sweet influence over the whole conversation and conduct; all the innocent natural enjoyments of life, (scarcely, perhaps, tasted before, from the natural relish of mind being blunted by artificial pleasures,) become inexhaustible sources of comfort; and the close of life is contemplated as the end of all pain, and the commencement of perfect, everlasting felicity.
“This, then, I conceive, is a faint sketch of that state of mind to which the Christian preacher should labour to bring himself and his hearers. This I take to be true religion,' our Saviour's well of water springing up unto everlasting life;' St. Paul's new creature,' and 'spiritual mind;' and St. John's "fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
“These points, therefore, I take to be the great features of Christian preaching-1. The danger and misery of an unrenewed, unregenerated state;
whether it be of the more gross, or of the more decent kind. 2. The absolute necessity of an inward change : a moral transformation of mind and spirit. 3. The important and happy effects which take place when this change is really produced. But how little justice have I done the subject! What a meagre outline have I given you ! But if it sets you on thinking for yourself, and leads you, like the Bereans, to search the Scriptures, whether these things be so,' it is the utmost I can look for.”
This long, but highly important letter, from a lay member of the Church of England, is worthy of being inscribed on a column of brass in every parish church, in every college and cathedral in Britain. At the present moment it ought to be deeply interesting to all the clergy and all dissenting ministers, as pointing out the root of those errors which are widely corrupting the professing church, and fatally deluding the souls of multitudes within its communion ; errors which restrain and impede the spread of saving truth among the worldly and unbelieving.
But to return to the volumes before us. Our readers will allow us to assure them, they will find the Christian Correspondent a most interesting table book, and delightful closet companion. It is one of the most instructive and appropriate works for those who can devote to reading only remnants of time. With equal propriety it may be deposited in the drawing-room, laid upon the desk or the counter, or be made a pocket companion for travellers of all sorts. We wish it an extensive circulation.
The Church of England Identified, on the Authority of her onen
Historians, with the Second Beast, as described in Revelations, Chap. xii. 11-18. By R. B. Sanderson, Esq. late Fellow of Oriel College, and formerly Secretary of Presentations to the
Lord Chancellor. 8vo. Hamilton and Co. London. The Seven Vials. By the Author of “ The Church of England
Identified.” 8vo. pp. 54. Hamilton and Co. London. We must preface our critique on these two pamphlets by apprizing our readers, that we are decided enemies to all pretences to interpret detached portions of the Revelations, independently of their relation to the whole. A stone taken out of the wall might as well be produced, at an auction, to induce men to bid for the mansion, as a comment on an isolated prophecy of the Revelations be urged on our faith, without reference to the scope and imagery of the grand vision. We have, however, no right to conclude that the author of these two works has not studied the whole book, though he here presents to us only detached dissertations. But we request every reader carefully to consider how far these interpretations will har. monize with a just view of the inspired prophecy with which the New Testament ends. Í
The author's preface deprecates all charges of undue severity, declaring that he might have pointed out the defective system of education adopted at the Universities, where, if a man be really religious, he must be so in spite of the place, and that he could have enlarged on the administration of church patronage by political per