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"Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.' This is spoken of saving faith, and it is equally applicable to that of which we now treat. For, having once believed unto salvation, we need a continual reference to the holy scriptures to sanction what in such unworthy creatures might otherwise be felt as presumption. How sweet it is to be told, "Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." This is the root of all our confidence: He that inhabiteth eternity dwelleth also with those who have humbled themselves at the foot of the cross, who have received the gift of repentance and remission of sins. Henceforth, Satan, whose captives they were, pursues them as fugitives escaped from his yoke, and though to bring them again into bondage is beyond his power, he harasses them in every possible way, and to the utmost limit that is permitted. In proportion to their contrition is their sense of what their former iniquities have deserved at God's hands: they cannot realize the fact that the past is actually blotted out from God's remembrance, and they inwardly mourn over the true record preserved in their own. Humility teaches them also to measure the awful distance between themselves, poor, grovelling worms, and the high and lofty One: between the creature man, whose breath is in his nostrils, who is as a shadow that departeth, and Him who inhabiteth eternity: between a being so deeply polluted, so continually in many things offending still, whose fleshly nature perpetually lusts against the Spirit, being able to do no good thing; and Him whose name is holy. Can it be that such a one is indeed looked after, and cared for, and has every little incident of his daily walk ordered and over-ruled for good? Yes: the word of God speaks to the principle of faith, implanted first through its own precious page, and tells him that the LORD dwells with him, and is to him a father, and owns him as a son-dwells in him, hallowing him as a temple, and being to him a present God. O the depth of the riches of such unfathomable wisdom and love? If it were rightly borne in mind, every assault of Satan, either from without or within, would but be as the little obstacles that beset an infant's path, inducing it, as nearing each, to look up in its tender parent's face, and stretch out its hands to be lifted over the stumbling-stone.
"And why does the little child do this? because it has ever found the parent's arm a strong support, and the parent's eye a sufficient guide. Perchance when its own inexperience has magnified some very trifling thing into a formidable obstruction, the tender parent may bid it exert itself, and may stand watchfully by, while the feeble creature puts forth an effort to surmount the difficulty, because such practice is needful, such exercise good; but what fond father ever yet stood passively by, while his babe broke its neck in attempting an impossibility? It is not to be endured by an earthly parent that his child should so wrongfully mistrust him: but we heap these insulting doubts against our Father in heaven; and if Satan can do no more than frighten us into such offensive unbelief, he does not wholly lose his labour. Yet further, in condescension to our weakness, we are told of an intermediate agency, beautifully adapted to our wants: angelic beings, like ourselves creatures, but unlike us, sinless, holy, obedient creatures, abiding in God's presence, and wholly opposed to the hosts of darkness, are brought before our view in every part of the Bible, and it is said of them, Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister to them that shall be heirs of salvation? The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.' 'He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways; they shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone."-(pp. 60-63.)
"The whole world is astir; and after such a sort, that we cannot liken it to the Spirit of God moving upon the face of the waters, to produce harmony, and breathe rejoicing life. It rather resembles the working of volcanic ele
ments, eagerly watched and promoted by Satan, for the sudden rending of all that is fair and calm. We see a prodigious increase of knowledge applied to man's use in every possible branch of art and science; but not for the promotion of God's glory. Divinely taught, Noah prepared an ark, elucidating a principle by which his posterity have, for thousands of years, found a highway over the trackless water; but now they have seized the element, and yoked it to their chariots, and laugh to scorn the fleetness of the horse, as with giddy velocity they make a transit over space, such as never before entered the imagination of man as a practicable thing. By much craft, and labour, and delicacy of touch, and nice arrangement of artificial colours, a studious portion of the community have long since acquired and cherished the art of preserving the natural appearance of an individual; so that, when both the artist and his subject had mouldered into dust, the semblance of the one survived to keep alive the fame of the other. But now man makes the sun his limner; and under the blaze of one day's beams, more is done in the art, and far more perfectly, than the longest life of the most laborious student ever sufficed to accomplish. By a third process, a similar adaptation of existing elements and natural principles, with a little aid from man's adventurous hand, and a trifling outlay of his limited means, the most ordinary homely metal shines forth, almost instantaneously, in burnished gold. Every day evolves some new marvel, or tests the applicability of modern discoveries to some branch of production, where thousands have been accustomed to earn their daily bread, producing the same results by protracted manual labour which now are effected, as in a moment, by machinery and chemical propulsion. All this is working a mighty revolution in men's minds and circumstances: fostering pride, satiating avarice, and promoting luxury in one class; while in another it engenders want, foments discontent, and even forces on them the idleness that is the parent of mischief. In both cases God is forgotten the giddy whirl of exciting occupation on the one side, combined with the lust of gain, that evermore grows by what it feeds on, thrust religion away as an unprofitable interruption; while on the other it is shunned as a substitute mockingly offered by the rich in lieu of what the body craves; and as a check on the lawless purposes with which Satan has filled the minds of the poor.
"So much for external changes, and their effects on the surface: how powerfully they bear on the position and the duty of the Christian, how loudly they call for that faith in God which nerves him, in defiance of second causes, to do valiantly in an evil day, may be next shown."-(pp. 72-74.)
In what manner it is shown, our limits forbid us to detail. Suffice it to say, then, that in the sixth and following chapters our readers will meet Charlotte Elizabeth on ground which most of them have often trodden in her company, and in which they may retrace their steps with unabated interest. She renews her indignant protest against Popery, not to exasperate those who profess, but to awaken and to stimulate those who should oppose it.
"That things should long continue in their present position, is manifestly impossible. It is spring-tide with Popery in England; every day adds something to the advantages gained, and to whatever distance the boundary may be removed which says to those proud waves, Hitherto shalt thou come, but no farther,' it is quite evident they will roll on till that impassable barrier be reached. The class led away are also of a rather high grade; people who contribute their money to schools and mass-houses, and then go to hear the thanksgiving sermons of a grateful priesthood, who, in return for their carnal gifts, would fain press on them the spiritual toys of Rome: people too, who, not content with the good land which the Lord gave them, and in which
their fathers gloried to dwell, have wandered abroad, spending their money in Popish countries, and their time in Popish society, until they have lost the sensitiveness of real Protestantism, and, 'grown familiar with the face,' are prepared to link themselves to what they should never have even looked upon. Another class consists of those who have been inoculated in their own church, or their own college, with the virus of Rome. The gentlemen who read, and the gentlemen who preach, and the ladies who read and hear, Tractarianism. Likewise, the frequenters of theatres, who having been present when such compositions as the Stabat Mater were performed on the stage, are tempted to try the more exciting effect of the same sentimentalism, amid the scenes for which it was originally intended, and with all the romantic accompaniments of an ecclesiastical melo-drama. These fall away rapidly, and no small advantage does the enemy gain by such accessions: for they, having their understandings wholly darkened by the ignorance that is in the apostate mind, and having lost what little knowledge they might before possess, are filled with a blind zeal to decoy others into the snare; while their perverted possessions are dedicated to the purposes of building up more temples, to be filled with the worshippers they shall help to allure. Such is the real, existing state of things in Protestant England."—(p. 83.)
This is as true as it is forcible. The national character of Englishmen is damaged, and will be destroyed, by the admission of the element of Popery. It is but too manifest in the tone which the scarcely-concealed jesuistry of Oxford has given to our theological controversy. It is but too manifest in that mystery, and reserve, and ambiguity, and we might say prevarication also, which are much better adapted to be the disguise of error than the vehicle of communicating truth; and which, under the specious pretext of creating "reverence," may most effectually insinuate superstition. Englishmen were wont to listen only to those who would SPEAK OUT: to this class it is that Charlotte Elizabeth belongs; and if in speaking candidly she has now and then spoken unguardedly, yet her occasional want of caution is itself the surest proof of her sincerity. Of all faults, it is that which can most easily be forgiven; and could we exclude from the production now before us every instance of its occurrence, the bulk of the volume would not be perceptibly diminished. Even in the crucible of a nominally British, but really Romanist, Papal critic, the works of Charlotte Elizabeth would lose little by evaporation, if it be true, as true it is, that the words of the Lord are pure words.
It is needless to add, that we earnestly recommend the work. All who read it may not be satisfied with the doctrines; but there are none who will not be dissatisfied with themselves. All must be profited, though some may not be pleased; and those who are most displeased will be not the least profited, if they will only act upon the stirring motto of the title-page, "Up, and be doing."
SERMONS Preached at the Episcopal Chapel, Upper Baggotstreet, Dublin. By the Rev. HAMILTON VERSCHOYLE. 12mo. Dublin: Milliken. 1843.
THE excellent minister of this chapel, wishing to provide funds for the enlargement of a Sunday School, has published these Sermons from notes taken down by some members of the congregation. They are likely to be useful not only to his congregation, but to Christians in general. They exalt the Saviour, humble the sinner, and promote holiness. They are written with much simplicity, unction, earnestness, and affection, and we doubt not were blessed of God to the edification of his people. A considerable list of subscribers is prefixed, embracing the names of many excellent persons in Ireland.
There is no dryness nor formality about these Sermons, but much of the warmth and liveliness which characterizes an address from the heart to an attentive congregation. We gladly commend them to our readers.
THE CERTAINTY OF THE ORIGIN OF EVIL IN THE WORLD, and the probable Preexistence of Mankind in the Fallen Angels cast out of Heaven into the Earth, before the Creation of the Six Days. By A LAYMAN. 12mo. London:
A VERY unsatisfactory work, attempting to deduce an unscriptural theory from the Scriptures without any adequate Scripture evidence. The author views what is, by sound expositors, considered as the prophecy of the fall of Paganism in the Roman empire (Rev. xii. 7-9) as the earliest revealed instance of the existence of evil in the world, and the originating cause of evil before the creation of Misinterpretations of Scripture abound, and we are sorry to see such misapplied zeal and industry. We notice it to guard our readers against it, as this is a day when we need to be cautioned against being "carried about with every wind of doctrine."