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have submitted to great privations, and that we must begin with Africa itself. have even laboured with their hands in Lawful commerce and peaceful occupatheir vacations to support their families. tions, in which the labour of men is The American abolitionists contributed worth more than the sale of their bodies, £13,000 for the erection and establish- must be encouraged ; and we rejoice to ment of the college ; but the commer- find that her Majesty's government is precial distresses of the country have paring to send out some steam-vessels pressed heavily upon them; and several to the Niger, to endeavour to set on thousand pounds in aid of the object foot these objects. A society has been have been collected in England. If lately established, for the extinction of conducted, as we hope it will continue the slave-trade, and the civilization of to be, in a meek and holy spirit, with Africa; of which Mr. Buxton is the warm piety, and be kept free from chairman, and Dr. Lushington and Sir political strifes, it may become a great R. H. Inglis are deputy chairmen; and blessing in healing the breaches between in the list of the committee we find the Whites and free Black and coloured Lords Euston, Chichester, Fitzroy, Numen, and aiding the peaceful extirpa- gent, Sandon, Ashley, Eliot, Worsley, tion of slavery and its concomitant and the Bishop of London, Calthorpe, Bex. resultant evils.
ley, Seaford, Wharncliffe, and Teign
mouth, with a large number of gentleAfter all our considerations about men able and willing to pursue the ob. slavery and the slave-trade, we return ject with zeal and efficiency; and most to Mr. Buxton's conclusion, so forcibly earnestly is it to be hoped with abundset forth in his volume, the first part of ant success. We fervently pray for the shich we reviewed, but thecomplete edi. blessing of God upon this great undertion of which we earnestly recommend taking. our readers to peruse for themselves,
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.
A. B. K.; J. P. ; Machaon; C. B. ; Quæsitor ; W. R. ; T. K.; T. S.; C. F. C.;
G. ; R. M. M.; E. B.; Oppidamus; J. W.; Anglicanus ; R. M. M.; Vindicator ; Rogans; H. Delta; Stephanus; A. S.; A. B. K. ; Clem wd ; and seve
ral “ Constant Readers," are under consideration. How can one of our correspondents doubt that the French Protestant's Tour was
a genuine document ? It was in the knowledge that it was so, and the belief that some useful lessons might be learned from a foreigner's free expression of his opinion of men and things among us, that we were not more strict in perusing it. It was, however, by inadvertence that some personal remarks on Mr.
O'Connell escaped erasure. A very respectable and candid Wesleyan minister, writing from a large town in
the North, favours us with the following statement, and salutary advice. “Many of the children of our people are members of your Church. I have always been on friendly terms with the Evangelical clergy (as in this place), and have never heard from them any charge of our proselyting their people. Our first preachers are doing their utmost to keep clear of a collision, and I sincerely hope you will
aim at the same object." It would only circulate the book sent us by one of our correspondents to allude
to it, or the advertisement of it. Booksellers cannot always guard against advertising exceptionable books when they have unexceptionable titles ; but no person should purchase an anonymous book upon the strength of an advertisement.
VAGUENESS, AND CONSEQUENT INEFFICACY, OF POPULAR
NOTIONS ON RELIGION.
For the Christian Observer.
essential; and that to a diligent application of those means, when discovered, a desire of attaining that end is also essential, are self-evident principles. To assert these is to prove them.
His disciples had been for three years intimately conversant with our Blessed Lord. In this short, but eventful, period of his life, they had witnessed days of active and laborious beneficence closed by nights of devout and fervent prayer. They had seen miracles of omnipotent power and unbounded mercy, in strange connexion with persecutions submitted to, and sufferings endured. They contemplated his mortified life ; his holy abstraction from the vanities of the world ; bis meek, yet firm, superiority to all its innocent, but peculiar, enjoyments. They saw that “all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them,” had for Him no charms: and that His meat in this wilderness—far from His Father's house, His native home-was to do the will of Him that sent Him, and to finish His work. carnal prejudice had so pre-occupied their hearts; and thence rising, in the foul mists of low ambition and worldly affections, had so clouded their understandings, that persecutions gratuitously submitted to; sufferings and privations voluntarily endured; deadness to this world of time and sense ; and aspirations after eternity, all vanished from their view. They saw but His omnipotent power : and this they fondly hoped would have been exerted, to seat their Master on the throne of a temporal kingdom : and to procure for those who, as Peter fails not to remind Him, had forsaken all, and followed Him-dignities, and wealth, and power.
Strange infatuation of the carnal mind! It was on the very eve of His crucifixion, that the worldly wishes and hopes of his followers had reached the acmé of expectation! He had already addressed to the body of the people the parable of " a certain nobleman who went into a far country, to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return :" “ because," as St. Luke informs us, “ He was nigh to Jerusalem ; and Christ. 0.3serv. No. 29.
because they thought that the kingdom of God should immediately appear.” But neither this parable, plain as it was ; nor His still plainer prediction to the Apostles, in private, of his sufferings and death, could quench the flame of their worldly desires; and thus disabuse their deluded understandings. And they had now arrived within a few hours of the close of our Lord's earthly career, while, like to many who are just stepping from this world into eternity, they were indulging the vain hope that the critical moment had arrived for the commencement of its expected enjoyment. They had just risen, like too many, from the memorials of his body broken and his blood shed, to indulge in dreams of worldly ambition and worldly enjoyment: of crowns and sceptres; robes of majesty, and thrones of empire,-dreams, from which the morning's dawn was to awaken them, by shifting the scene from a visionary palace to a real Calvary; and by converting those bright visions of an intoxicating, dreaming imagination, into a real crown of thorns; a sceptre of derision ; a robe of mockery; and a cross !
To prepare them for this unexpected reverse, and with these anticipated sufferings full upon his soul, our Lord, in the plenitude of disinterested love, addressed them in the consolatory farewell discourse recorded by St. John. Its opening exhortation, while it asserts the Deity, proves the unselfish love, of their gracious Master, who could thus forget his own infinitely deeper stake in his approaching personal sufferings, in his earnest desire to support and comfort his disciples under the trials and disappointments which these sufferings would occasion to them. Thus, in blending Divine power and Divine love, it gave them the firmest assurance of their eternal happiness. " Let not,” he
says, “your heart be troubled. Ye believe in God: believe also in me." He then proceeds to inform them of the reason for his departure; that he was going to prepare a place for them amid the many mansions of his Father's house : that where he was, there they might be also. In his own person he exhibits to them “ the way: and the truth : and the life :" -“ the way;" for it lay in the imitation of Christ : “ the truth ;” for the substance of all the types and shadows of every prior dispensation was the great atonement of Christ, the substance of happiness was the resemblance, the presence, and the enjoyment of Christ: “ the life ;" for the animating and quickening principle, which was the purchase of his merit, sufferings, and death, could be the gift of Him alone in whom was “the residue of the Spirit ;” in whom “ dwelt the fulness of the Godhead, bodily." But his disciples, blinded by the prejudices of their earthly minds, understood neither the end nor the means. They knew neither the place, nor the way. “ Thomas saith unto Him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?"
A simple statement, What,and who, God is, were alone sufficient to prove that the world, whether by wisdom or by revelation, knows not God: and that although Sabbath bells may toll, and congregations assemble, and prayers be repeated, and sacraments administered, yet that, with the great mass of society, all this machinery of religious worship has, in reality, no object: and that if the religion of the world can repel the charge of idolatry, it is only because it can take refuge from it beneath the shield of a virtual atheism. Were it of practical usefulness, this charge could easily be extended from the object of religious worship—God-into a general principle, embracing the whole sphere of means and ends, principles and affections, contemplations and experiences, and even terms with which Christianity is conversant. It could be proved, both from reason and Scripture, that in all these the religion of the world is, and of necessity must be, conversant with empty sounds alone. Reason tells us, that all the terms expressive of the real and peculiar nature of a religion whose object it is to prepare man for a spiritual existence, after this earth, and all that it inherits, shall have passed away—that these technical terms, if I may so express it, must be wholly conversant with spiritual things. To this, Scripture adds, that “ the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned;" that is, to be discerned only by a faculty which, until he is born again, no man possesses. All those terms therefore, which express the substance and essence of religion, which denote that peculiar nature which distinguishes it from a respectable, amiable, and moral walk through this world of time,-all those terms which describe, to the experience of a spiritual man, the various links which unite the soul to God, -all these are, and of necessity must be, to the natural man, empty sounds; which convey to his mind no more of the real nature of the ideas which they clothe, than do the names of sounds to the deaf, or of colour to the blind.
Sensible objects, whether of the sight, or ear, or taste, or smell, can find access to the mind, and be apprehended in their real nature, only by a sense or faculty congenial and proportioned to these objects. The quickest eye cannot convey to the understanding the remotest idea of a sound. The quickest ear cannot convey to the understanding the remotest idea of the visible landscape. Nor can either eye or ear convey to the mind the remotest conception of the violet's perfume, or the peach's flavour. These senses can fully apprehend the form and bloom, and beauty of the fruit or flower; but taste and smell alone can take in, respectively, the flavour of the one and the perfume of the other. The man who wants any sense, is wholly excluded from any acquaintance with the objects of that sense, in their real nature, however minutely you may describe them to him: and while nature with liberal hand, is scattering them around, in rich and infinite variety, as regards those objects, existence is to him as thorough a blank as if those objects had never been. So also in spiritual things. “ That which is born of the flesh is flesh : that which is born of the Spirit," and that alone, " is Spirit.” Every child of fallen Adam is, as regards spiritual life, still-born. He wants the spiritual sensethe spiritual faculty, by which alone spiritual things can be apprehended. And until “he is born again,” “born of the Spirit,” to a spiritual life, and to the possession of spiritual senses and faculties, “ he cannot see the kingdom of God"—that is, he cannot apprehend, in their real nature, spiritual objects. He may, with Seneca or Plato, understand all the bearings and the beauty of moral truth ; but he cannot catch the genuine spirit which should animate it; or draw down from heaven the sacred fire which should kindle the love of it upon the altar of the heart : and transmuting, by its peculiar alchymy, morals into piety, offer up the life a whole burnt offering, an acceptable sacrifice unto the Lord. He may form the perfect statue of the moral man, but cannot breathe into it the breath of life, and thus convert it into the Christian. He may believe, indeed, in the existence of a God; as he believes in that of any foreign potentate.
fear God, as he would fear any invading tyrant. He may repeat prayers, and offer up ceremonies or sacrifices unto God, as does every nation under heaven,-all this is natural to man; and does not transcend the level of the darkest heathenism. But the God whom his fancies and his fears have created, is not the God whom the Bible reveals. He knows not God in his real nature and character,-blended holiness and love: has no sense of his presence-no felt communion with him in prayer. He not only has not-but, through the want of a congenial sense and faculty, he cannot have—this. As little and from the same cause, defect of nature-can the natural man apprehend God, as can the lower animals apprehend man.
But to the great majority of men, general principles possess all that vagueness and obscurity of which this paper has been written to com. plain. I shall therefore descend from the general principle to an induction of a few particulars, and extend this charge from the object of worship--God—to the end and mean. I shall instance three terms with which our ears and tongues are familiar; and which involve in them the very vitals of Christianity. The two former expressing the great end, to be shunned, or to be sought : the latter the only mean. I would now, in all simplicity, inquire of the reader, reserving the discussion of his reply to another paper, what do you mean when you speak of Hell ?-of Heaven ?-of Religion ?
It is far from my wish to excite one groundless scruple in a pious soul : or to make the hearts of those sad whom God hath not made sad. I cannot therefore close this paper without expressing my deep conviction, that much intellectual vagueness may consist, not only with “simplicity and godly sincerity,” but with much moral accuracy; and that the heart may feel,-warmly and strongly feel, what the tongue can but inadequately define. There is a moral and spiritual tact, far superior to clearness of intellectual apprehension, skill and strength of expression, and knowledge of doctrine-for knowledge is not charity, but this is the perfection of love ; a tact by which we sympathise with Christ, and which places him who possesses it, though infinitely distant in degree and strength of feeling, yet in the same attitude of mind, amid the circumstances of life in which Christ himself, were he now on earth, would stand. It teaches him, as by the instinct of a regenerated nature, intuitively to shrink from what Christ would hate, and to love what Christ would love: though perhaps were he pressed by the subtleties of some more intellectual antagonist to explain his principles by cold definitions, and to maintain them by logical deductions, he would be forced to give up the contest: to fly from the sophisms of a party disputant, and from a war of words : and to take refuge in the purity of his intentions, and the sincerity of his love. But such a heart, if not prepared to argue and define, is ever prepared to feel and to act. It is attuned to harmony with every statement of the truth as it is in Jesus: able to comprehend : ready to approve: willing to practise it. Thus possessing a principle which ever receives the truth in the love of it, it can say, at each new exhibi. tion of the Divine Mind, each new principle, or each new precept, never before recognised, because never before proposed to it,-can say in the forum of conscience, and in the presence of God, These are my sentiments, This is my religion.