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that the event would follow. To ily sensation might serve for have uttered them on any other such a mark, so likewise might ground than this, that God would a particular known state of the give soundness to the cripple if mind. When this was perceivhe thought fitwould by no ed, an apostle might know, that means bave corresponded with he should receive whatever he apostolic prudence. The same should ask, and that a miraculous apostle, on another occasion, effect would attend his speaking. said, “ Eneas, Jesus Christ mak. His faith would, in this case, eth thee whole.” Surely there have a foundation. It would rest could be no doubt, in his mind, on divine truth. God had assure that the cure would take place. ed him, that when such a sensa
In the passage quoted, the tion, or such a mark existed, didisciples are required to believe, vine power would be ready to that the thing requested shall be operate. He perceives this mark, received. Faith must have some and therefore must conclude, foundation. Would Christ re- if he believe God, that divine quire his apostles to believe any power is ready to be executed. proposition without good reasons
A person, who in these circumfor believing it? Here a difficul- stances, prayed, that a cripple ty of no inconsiderable magni- might be healed, might have the tude presents itself. The apos- best ground for believing, that tles could not, at all times, heal he should receive that for which the sick. Could Paul have he prayed. When Peter said, healed Trophimus, the latter Eneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee had not been left sick at Miletum. whole, he ventured his apostolic From the perfections of God, reputation not on precarious conthey well knew, that he would jecture, but on the veracity of interpose whenever the occasion Almighty God. should require. But how could
LEIGHTON. they know when the occasion did require? How could they Messrs. Editors, know, beforehand, that Trophi- Many of your readers are well mus was not to be cured by a acquainted with the zealous and miracle, and that Eneas the crip- indefatigable labours of Mr. ple were?
WILBERFORCE, a member of the The writer would, with diffi- English House of Commons, to dence, offer a conjecture on this procure an abolition of the slave subject.
trade. In a debate on that subThat God could give to the ject, just before the late vote of apostles some mark, whereby abolition was carried, Sir Vicary they might dintinguish those Gibbs, the Solicitor General, paid occasions, on which he would
a most dignified and eloquent interpose by a miracle, is not to compliment to that most worthy be questioned. He might, for and benevolent man. PresumMistance, fix on some particular ing that it will give pleasure to sensation, which should infallibly readers in general, and at the same indicate, that he was about to time show in what high estimacommunicate to them the power tion this eminent Christian patof working a miracle. As a bodo riot is held by that honourable
FAITH OF THE NEW
body of which he is a member, those of the speaker, that the I transcribe it for insertion in the members could not refrain from Panoplist.
C. Y. A. indulging in an almost unaniThe Solicitor General, in con- mous burst of applause. Let tinuation, observed, that,
the young reader şet Mr. Wilber“When he looked to the man force before him as an example at the head of the French Monar- of persevering humanity and virchy, surrounded as he was with tue, and reflect that the good ali the pomp of power, and all man seldom fails to obtain high the pride of victory, distributing rewards even in this life. kingdoms to his family, and principalities to his followers, seeming when he sat on his
OF THE throne to have reached the sum
ENGLAND CHURCHES. mit of human ambition, and the pinnacle of earthly happiness,
No. 2. and he followed that man into (Concluded from p. 14.) his closet or to his bed, and con- From the creeds and confes. sidered the pangs with which his sions adopted, and afterward breast must be tortured, and his frequently confirmed, by the repose banished by the recollec- fathers of New England, assemtion of the blood he had spilled, bled in Synods, we learn what and the oppressions he had come were the essential articles of mitted ; and when he compared their religious faith. We find with those pangs of remorse, thern summed up in the Westthe feelings which must accompa- minister Confession of faith, and ny his honourable friend (Mr. in that well known “ form of Wilberforce) from that house sound words," the Assembly's to his home, after the vote of Shorter Catechism. this house shall have confirmed I am aware, that it will be obthe object of his humane and jected that creeds and confessions unceasing labours ; when he are unfriendly to the cause of shouid retire into the busom of truth, that they fetter the mind, his happy and delighted fainily, prevent free inquiry, and foster when he should lay himself bigotry. An abuse of them, I down on his bed, reflecting on admit, may produce such effects, the innumerable voices that as the best things are liable to be would be raised in every quarter perverted to a bad use ; but we of the world to bless him, how deny that these are their natural much more pure and perfect and legitimate effects. The opinfelicity must he enjoy in the ion of the venerable Synods, who consciousness of having preserve adopted these confessions, I aped so many nations of his fellow prebend, will be deemed by secreatures, than the man with rious minds the correct opinion whom he had compared him, on on this subject. the throne to which he had wad- “ It must needs tend much to ed through slaughter and op- the holour of the blessed name pression.”
of the Lord Jesus Christ," say The feelings of the house the members of the Synod who were so much in unison with first adopted the Westminster
Confession, “when many church. confession, and found the same es join together in their testimo- to be the eternal truths of God, ny for the truth. The Lord we recommend them (as such) hath signally owned the Confess to the people to remember them, sions of the four first general and to hold them fast, and to Councils, for the suppression of contend for them, as containing heresies in primitive times. the faith once delivered to the The Confessions of the Bohem- saints ; to value them, as their ians, Waldenses, and other Pro- great charter and instrument testant reformed churches, have of their salvation ; to maintain been of singular use not only them all their days with unto those who then lived, but also daunted resolution, and to transto posterity, even to the present mit them safe and pure to their day. It must needs be a work posterity.” pleasing to God, for his servants It is proper here to remark, to declare to the world, whal to prevent misconception and those principles of truth are, misrepresentation, that the learnwhich they have received, and ed and pious compilers of these purpose to live and die in the confessions did not undertake to profession of. Nor are they make a religion, but only to deo worthy the name of Christians, clare what were their views of who refuse to declare what they that religion revealed in the believe.” They conclude in these word of God. Nor did they inprophetic words : “ What hours tend that their faith should be of temptation may overtake the ground or standard of the these churches is not for us to faith of those who should come say ; only the Lord doth some- after them ; but they resolved times so order things, that when all into the authority of God, his people have made a good con- speaking in his holy word. This fession, they shall be put upon word, not their confessions, was the trial some way or other con- the standard of their faith, as it cerning their sincerity in it. is of ours. Their confessions The Lord grant that the loins of contained the doctrines which our minds may be so girt about they received from this holy with truth, that we may be able book. We bring them as evito stand in the evil day, and hav. dences, that our understanding: ing done all to stand."
of the scriptures is consonant The synod of Connecticut, in to that of the great body of 1708, declare their opinion of Christians, in all former ages. the nature and importance of We appeal to them not as auconfessions of faith, in the fol- thorities, but as witnesses. lowing words: “ This confession I anticipate another objection. We offer, as our firm persuasion, It may be said ; “ The religion well and truly grounded on the of our fathers, and of the ancient word of God, and commend the Christians, was well enough, Same to the people of the colony, nay perhaps very suitable for to be examined, accepted and them, in the times and under constantly maintained. Have the circumstances in wbich they ing applied the rules of holy lived. But times and circumscripture to the articles of this stances are now changed, and VOL. III. No. 2. I
of criurse their opinions and diarely from the Father of lights, views of religion will not suit with whoin is no variableness or the present age.
shadow of turning, it was like I know also, that it has been its divine Founder complete in såid by those who have chosen all its parts, incapable of receivto depart from the old paths, and ing any improvement from huit is the principal argument on man learning, or the discoveries which they rest iheir own justi-' of any future age. At the period fication ; « That in every science, of its first promulgation, it connot excepting the science of tained an entire system in itself, theology, there is a natural prog- to which nothing can be added, ress to perfection ; that of froin which nothing can be taken course every succeeding age is without rendering ir less perwiserehan that which went before;. fect.* Its rich treasures are and that from this consideration, depositel in one volume, which there is ground to expect, that was complete in its first edition, with proper encouragement; published by its inspired authors, revelation will soon be purged and which hus been carefully from every thing foreign and copied, (with some various readadventitious, and be reduced, at ings indeed of no essential" imlast, to a rational system, fuand- portance) im the millions of edicil on the merring principles of tions since published. Chriswell interpreted scripture and trans in the first ages of the truth.”
church were as: capable of un9.To the objection and argu- derstanding its essential docment now stated, the following trines, as in any subsequent age. reply is offered. The parallel so This sacred volume has ever often drawn by some men be- been open to the inspection of tween sacred and profane litera. all men, to which, as to a perenture, will not by any means gen- nial fountain, all the learned and erally hold.. Human sciences the unlearned are invited to of every kind, it is readily admit- come and take freely of the wated, are progressive. It is not ter of life, till after much labour and re- But the absurdity of a pro. search, and many unsuccessful gressive religion may be argued attempts, that they arrive at any not only from the difference beconsiderable' degree of perfec- tween sacred and profane learntion. But that the same pro- ing, but also from the obvious gression obtains with regard to design of revelation. The the greaty distinguishing doc. Christian religion was intended irincs, which constitute the to benefit the whole human race. science of theology, no sober be. Its divine and merciful Author, liever will hastily affirm. Chris- therefore, in whose eyes the aianity was introduced into the soul of the meanest rustic, and *world by its divine Author in of the rudest savage is equally 'its full maturity and vigour, in precious with that of the most a state of utmost perfection. It profound philosopher, has so achad no state of infancy and k- commodated its truths, as that ness to pass through before its genius could be perfectly discov, * See Rev, xxii, 18, 19. cred. As it descended iminer
they are intelligible and obvious plain. . Excellent to this purto the most ordinary person, pose are the words of the learnwho studies them diligently, and ed yet modest Chillingworth ; with an honest mind.
“ Propose me any thing out of, It is readily admitted, that this book, and ask me whether there are many things in the or not I believe it, and seem it sacred books, and particularly in ever so incomprehensible to huthe imysteries, and some of the man reason, I will subscribe it doctrines necessarily connected hand and heart, as knowing no with and dependent on them, demonstration can be stronger which we cannot explain, which than this, God hath said so, elude our most anxious inqui- therefore it is true.” ries, and refuse to be brought I shall conclude my observaunder the test of our severest tions with a pertinent passage reason. So there many
from the pious and eloquent things in natural religion, relat- Saurin. ing to the divine existence, the “ All doctrines that are in-. creation and moral government comprehensible are not divine, of the world, and the origin of nor ought we to embrace any moral evil, concerning which it opinion merely because it is beis easy for the weakest man to yond our knowledge. But when ask questions, which the wisest a religion, in other respects, hath may find it difficult to answer. good guarantees, when we have
Perhaps clearer knowledge of good arguments to prove that, what is now concealed is unat- such a revelation comes from tainable in our present state ; heaven, when we certainly know or it might be hurtful to us in a that it is God who speaks, ought variety of ways, of which we we to be surprised if ideas of have now no conception. God God, which come so fully auknoweth how much it is best to thenticated, absorb and confound disclose to us in the present us ? I freely grant, that had I state. On subjects of this mys- consulted my own reason only, I terious nature, it is not expected could not have discovered some that we comprehend, but that we mysteries of the gospel. Nevbelieve ; where we cannot un- ertheless, when I think on the riddle, we are to learn to trust; immensity of God, when I cast where our faculties are too weak my eyes on that vast ocean, to penetrate, we are to check when I consider that immense our curiosity, and adore.
all, nothing astonishes me, nothThe doctrines of Christianity ing stumbles me, nothing seems being all comprehended in the to me inadmissible, how incompreBible, when once we have ad- hensible soever it may be. When mitted that this book was writ- the subject is divine, I am ready ten by men divinely secured to believe all, to admit all, to refrom error, it follows, that from ceive all ; proviced I be convincthis book there lies no appeal; ed that it is God himself who and that whatever is clearly re- speaks to me, or any one on his corded here is the truth of God, part. After this I am no more though it may be beyond our astonished that there are three Teason to comprehend or ex- distinct persons in one divine