« FöregåendeFortsätt »
not in the three departments just mentioned of politics, charity, and religion, to deal so much as at present with what our French neighbours would call " men of the movement:" we had to contend with apathy rather than fever: we had to urge from year to year, often to little purpose, sober and necessary reforms in church and state; to implore what is called the religious world to arouse itself from its slumbers; to apply stimulants to frigid orthodoxy; and to entreat many of our charitable institutions to take more heed to their ways: but now, even just and proper innovations are rendered liable to suspicion by the spirit of extravagance and caricature which has gone abroad; so that even right things acquire odium by the adventitious appendage of exceptionable adjuncts; whether they arise only in the imaginations of those who conscientiously dread change, lest it should lead to unknown evils; or whether they are conjured up for party purposes; or whether they spring from a knowledge of the ulterior views of some who advocate what is real improvement, only for the sake of making it a stepping stone to what is evil.
We might apply these remarks in particular to the state of religion and religious institutions among us; and not least to some of those questions to which we have recently had occasion to advert. Some years since, when we so often urged our readers to pray earnestly for a more copious effusion of the Divine grace and influence upon the church of Christ and the whole human race, every member of what is called the religious world was with us; whereas now, because we have opposed the fanaticism of miraculous healings and speaking with tongues, and dangerous speculations respecting unfulfilled prophecy and other subjects, we are attacked as opposers of the work of God, and sceptics and unbelievers in regard to the answers to those very prayers which we urged our fellow-Christians to offer. So again, when we formerly endeavoured to promote the cause of Bible Societies and kindred institutions, we had at least the comfort of knowing that, though we displeased the ungodly and the lukewarm, our feeble services were not frowned upon by those who professed better things; whereas now, though we have not changed any part of our principles or conduct in these matters, we are assailed as wishing to perpetuate evils, to chain down our religious institutious to low and carnal views, to frustrate the grace of God, and to dishonour the ever blessed and glorious Trinity. Thus, again, if at one time we had occasion to point out the evils of bad books, and the defects of good ones, we have now to oppose the harsh ultraism of those who would make a man an offender for a word, and who find heresy and infidelity in the best writings of the best men who do not respond to all their shibboleths. Formerly, the attacks upon us proceeded chiefly from the side of worldliness and barren formality; now, without being at all spared in these quarters, we are simultaneously exposed to the cross fire of false zealotry, and to that unhappy acerbity of spirit which has of late sprung up among some who should better have studied the temper of our common Lord. If these things have sometimes moved us; it were better perhaps they had not done so; we must not indeed, as Christian Observers, shut our eyes to them, or fail occasionally to advert to them: but there are subjects of far more vital and enduring interest, and to these may the regards both of ourselves and our readers be more prominently directed. Political contentions are raging, religious contentions are scarcely less fierce, a formidable pestilence impends over us; and every thing reminds the Christian to prepare for the coming of his Redeemer, and to watch and pray that he enter not into temptation. Our views are not indeed so gloomy as those of many; and even in some of the convulsions around us, whether moral, religious, or political, we see rather misguided efforts after good than a wish to effect evil; and we firmly hope that, when the air is cleared after the storm, future generations will be benefited by the result of many things which at the time, and to the actors and spectators, are painful. But at present the scene is trying; and if good is really advancing, it is mixed up with so much of evil as to render the conflict painful and appalling. But this, amidst all, is the Christian's consolation, that greater is He that is with us than he that is against us, and that against His church the gates of hell shall not prevail.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
REV. OF-Evans's Sermons.. Hay and Bel-
LIT. AND PHIL. INTEL.-New Publications
LIT. AND PHIL. INTEL.-New Publications
Hawkers' Law.. Poland: Protestants..