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great spectacle in the standing evi- , and deformity—arrogance and sensudence of his works—large in scale, ality-wrath, without mercy or reand diversified in appearance. Thus morse-lust, without love or shame the proposition in the soul was sus- -dependance, without reverence or tained by the majesty and variety of affection--reigned and revelled in saexternal testimony.
turnalian orgies. 2. What, then, was their guilt ? 4. Such was the real condition of They held, or detained, the truth in Rome, the lauded and glorified Emunrighteousness. Knowing God, they press of the Nations. Iler vaunted did not give him gratitude or glory. wisdom was folly, over which pitying Through vanity of imagination and angels might have wept crimson tears, coldness of heart, they fell into folly, and shed them all in vain. Well darkness, and impiety. Desiring not might the ardent and beneficent to retain the sublime conception of Apostle desire, in that sink of infamy one spiritual God as a salutary re- and wretchedness, to testify the rightstraint over the heart, imagination, eousness of God, as unfolded in the and conscience — they brake into salvation provided by the gospel. He shapeless and monstrous fragments was not ashamed of his mission, or the living Unity, changing the glory his message. He knew that the just of the uncorruptible God into images could only live by faith in the testilike corruptible men, birds, beasts, mony concerning the Redeemer. Withand creeping things. From the sub- out that, life could not be restored, tle energies of nature to the fanatical nor disease arrested. The stupendous passions of the heart—from the stars works of God had not even conserved of the blue abyss to the heroes of the Divinity in the human mind, and human history, and from thence to could not relume the ancient fire after the bats of midnight and the reptiles it was extinguished. That which of the slime—divinities swarmed in did not save from destruction, could troops and legions, until they became not rebuild and enthrone. Nothing intolerable nuisance and unutterable less could establish the existence, and
reveal the character of God, than a 3. What was the punishment of positive testimony substantiated by such mental and moral perverseness ? supernatural works. A record of They were abandoned by God to facts inspired with love supported their voluntary vileness, until they by evidence sublime with power, and began to have actual pleasure in carried onward by counsel unsearchthings which they knew were worthy able in wisdom. of death. Malignancy, murder, lying, 5. We may now sum up our revain-glory, pride, covenant-breaking, marks and conclusions on this chapter disobedience to parents, became com- of holy writ. We must not impute mon among them. Nor was profli- to God a procedure which would be gacy bounded by sins against God in absurd and unreasonable in man. the excess of privilege ; but depravity When man spreads before his brother was stung into madness, and ran wild an accumulation of documentary eviinto the infernal and the beastial. dence—a volume of proofs and illusTransgressions against nature became trations—he has in view a proposition rife in methods of monstrous and un- already in the field of enquiry, which speakable pollution. The spirits of requires to be fortified by strong men became fiendish in calculating bulwarks. He chooses his position, vindictiveness their bodies brutal and seeks to entrench himself by an with strange defilement. The fire of array of authorities. The truth of hell burned within--the leprosy of his proposition, the security of his uncleanness spread without. Passion stronghold, must then be tested, by
enquiring whether his documents cannot explain it. And thus while are authentic, his authorities valid ; man is borne aloft into a region which and if so, whether the evidence he never could have scaled without a amounts to proof, or falls short of heavenly chariot-insatiable speculamoral certainty. But man does not tion is arrested by a flaming boundary lay before his fellow records and wall
, over which no adventurous testimonials without announcing the spirit must seek to soar.
The city cause which is pending, and the at which we have arrived is so gloprinciple which is at stake. Neither rious, that we need not roam any does that Being who is the Reason further in search of happiness. From of all reasons. He had supplied man every green vale and sapphire brook, with the glorious proposition before joy ‘shines and sparkles—and the he directed his attention to the ample sheen is from the wings of the Chevolume of seals and confirmation. rubim.
Suppose a man disciplined in mind, II.-In a letter to Corinth, of aland erudite in knowledge, but utterly most equal importance, we find the dark concerning a Creator. Will it following statement :—“But as it is not require a divine impulse to stim- written, eye hath not seen, nor ear ulate him in seeking the mystery of heard, neither have entered into the life? All the natural theologians heart of man, the things which God have floundered here. They have hath prepared for them who love him. forgotten, or failed to observe, that But God hath revealed them unto us the beginning of the labour, the mere by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth prosecution of the research, would im- all things, yea, the deep things of ply that the great idea was already God. For what man knoweth the dawning. Suppose this difficulty sur- things of a man, save the spirit of mounted. Man can only reason from man which is in him ? even so the his own knowledge concerning the things of God knoweth no man, but order of nature. He perceives in the Spirit of God. Now we have reevery visible province upon earth a ceived not the spirit of the world, but chain of sequence-an established re- the Spirit which is of God ; that we lation of cause and effect. Every ef- might know the things that are freely fect looking back to its cause, and given to us of God. Which things every cause to a prior or antecedent also we speak, not in the words which cause. By travelling in this track, man's wisdom teacheth, but which if he even reach the conception of a the Holy Spirit teacheth, comparing hidden cause which originated the spiritual things with spiritual (exwide universe and all its phenomena plaining spiritual things in spiritual
--he cannot find repose there, but words.) But the natural (animal) must journey on in the awful darkness man receiveth not the things of the of the infinite multiplying spirits and Spirit of God, for they are foolishness gods, without the prospect or possi- unto him ; neither can he know them, bility of a resting place. This would because they are spiritually discerned. be climbing with dire labour a moun- But he that is spiritual judgeth all tain which has no summit-sailing up things, yet himself is judged of no a black river that has no spring-head man. For who hath known the mind -sweeping over an ocean which has of the Lord, that he may instruct him ? neither bottom nor shore.
But we have the mind of Christ.” In mercy to man, the God who (chap. i.) has disclosed himself gives us to un- 1. Corinth was the intellectual eye derstand that he is from eternity to of Greece--the place where human eternity-underived and life-creating. wisdom was lofty in pretension, and Faith rests upon this, though reason I where rhetoric was both a passion
and an art. But Paul was not sent | The former passage has profound there to found a school of philosophy significance when we keep it in the and oratory. His mission and cre- light of its own context.
It is exdentials were from above-his work plained by the following :
6 The for eternity. Hence, in that city of natural man receiveth not the things literary glory and renown, he deter- of the Spirit of God, for they are spimined not to know (not to make ritually discerned.” The animal man known) anything among them save of Paul is a diverse man from the Jesus Christ and him crucified. And natural man of modern divinity. It though he did this work heroically, is true that the animal man is likeyet it went not forward without an- wise alienated and impure, but it is guish of spirit. There was weakness, in the aspect of incapability, not of fear, trembling, and many tears ; but depravity, that the Apostle is pourjoy in the Holy Spirit ascendant over traying such a being. He has before all. Depravity and polish, wicked- his mind man in the great hall of naness and refinement, had gone hand ture, with his five senses, and his unin hand in Corinth. It was as much aided understanding, as inlets of disnoted for enormous profligacy as for covery and channels of communicaintellectual splendour. It was a serious tion. In such a condition man has thing to labour among men who would no faculty to reach the invisible. His be stumbled with an impure accent, eyes, ears, and inward reason comor a barbarous tone, or an ungraceful mune with visible creation, but cannot attitude ; but had no scruple in out-hear voices from the supernal world, raging all the charities of the house or discern the glory of the spiritual hold, and all the moralities of life. landscape. It is true there are lessons We may understand well how the of heavenly import in that open
Book Apostle, valiant as he was, would, in of Creation ; but the learner has such a place, weep and tremble, but neither the power, the object, nor the still labour on.
method of fruitful labour, until a di2. Nevertheless, he spake wisdom vine teacher takes him by the hand. among the perfect--the justified, re- That such is substantially the meangenerated congregation — yet not the ing of the Apostle is evident from the wisdom of this world. Deep wisdom, entire tenor of the chapter. For inhidden from the world and its rulers stance-“ For what man knoweth -as was manifest by their blindness the things of a man, save the spirit of when they crucified the Lord of glory, man which is in him: even so the and persecuied his saints by banish- things of God knoweth no man, but ment, proscription, famine, and fire. the Spirit of God.” In other words, What had been written in ancient man cannot even search the spirit of time was verified
He cannot discover seen, nor ear heard.” In the textual the thoughts, passions, and purposes system of exposition unfortunately of his brother, until they are manifestprevalent, this is always referred to ed by intelligent words and works. the felicities of heaven, which, we are The inner spirit of each man must be informed, are inconceivable. how- its own revealer, or the chamber of ever true this may be in itself, it is thought and emotion remains dark certainly not the particular truth be- and fathomless. Even so—and emfore the mind of the Apostle. He has phatically so—the things of God are not, in the context, the slightest refe-hidden from the inquisition of man, rence to such a question. The things and can only be revealed by his own which
eye could not see, nor ear hear, eternal Spirit. The existence and the nor the understanding conceive, “God purposes of the Ancient of Days must hath revealed them to us by his Spirit.” I have for ever remained in darkness,
had he not disclosed himself in a tes- and his relation to him by the energy timony which we can receive by faith. of his understanding and the yearning The Holy Spirit has taught us by ex- of his heart. No! he enjoyed persoplaining spiritual things in spiritual nal communion with bis Creator, words divine ideas in congruous walking serenely with him, and talkdiction, ministered by inspired men : ing to him with the sacred freedom of supernatural truth in appropriate lan- purity and love. But since man has guage, supported by corresponding fallen from his original holiness and evidence. The pinions of natural happiness, whatever we may conclude reason were not strong enough to lift respecting “ natural religion” in Paand bear us into the azure of eternity. radise, it is certainly entirely out of The chasm between the visible and the field now. An attempt was made the invisible was too wide for the by Cain to approach God as if the sweep of human faculty, however am- first relation was standing ; but, as we ple and daring. By the power and know, his attempt was unsuccessful mercy of God, a bridge has been and disastrous. May we not consider reared over the dark gulf. The shores him as the father of the modern sysof time and eternity are united ; and tem of natural theology ? No one however impetuously the stormy wa- has any right to call in question either ters may dash and foam below, the the sincerity of his worship, or the pilgrim who is travelling Godward beauty of his offering. The fruits may securely pursue his journey with which he presented might be luscious songs of gladness on the road. “ We and ruddy with the sap of the earth have the mind of Christ,” who, dwel- and the kiss of the sun. But still no ling in the bosom of God, has reveal- fire-angel descended from heaven to ed the wisdom and will of the Father. receive the splendid offering. The He is the way, the truth, and the spirit of man, and the temple of nalife, and no man cometh unto the Fa- ture were both desecrated by sin. And ther but by him. Many of the unre- it was only through a mysterious conciled, after purloining the concep- arrangement, that man would have tion of God from a volume which the privilege of becoming religious. they despise, profess to have senti- When wrath was deserved, and pumental raptures while they meditate nishment impending, an amnesty was upon God in nature. But we tell proclaimed by the Sovereign, and the them that until they come to the cross perishing subjects re-bound and reof the Redeemer in contrition, reve- united to the glory, grace, and immurence, and wonder, their stolen pro- nities of his paternal empire. Reveperty is of no moral service. The lation, reason, and etymology are one brand of Atheism is upon them in in declaring that religion is supernaheart and brow, and the black stains tural and divine. can never be washed away, until they
G. GREENWELL. lave in that purple fountain from which the penitent rises unsullied into INTERPRETATION OF THE the atmosphere of a high and holy
SCRIPTURES.-No. I. region. 3. “ Natural religion” is a misno
THE revolution which has been acThere is no such thing in our complished to so great an extent fallen planet. If ever there was any throughout the religious community natural religion, it was in the garden within the last few years, may be of Eden ; but even there it was not readily traced to a single principle natural, strictly speaking. For man the right of private judgment in matin his primal strength was not sub- ters of religion. It is to this inestijected to the task of discovering God 'nable privilege that we owe all those
discoveries of divine truth which con- another in the very same city or vilstitute the distinguishing tenets of lage, and will be even honoured and the disciples, and have restored to us caressed by them, if the opinions the gospel of Christ, in its primitive which rendered him obnoxious to the simplicity and power. Had not those censure of his party happen to coinwith whom this effort at reformation cide with theirs. Here, then, excluoriginated, boldly claimed the exer- sion involves scarcely any unpleasant cise of this right, they would never consequences, and is therefore but have ventured to dissent from the little cared for or regarded. The established doctrines of the societies readiness and impunity with which to which they belonged ; but, content men may change their religious senwith orthodoxy, would have kept the timents, gives to the Protestant faith prescribed by authority, and world, regarded as a whole, an apcontended for the doctrines and com- pearance of liberality which it does mandments of men.
not possess, when considered in reWe do not affirm that the Protest- spect to the communities of which it ant communities deny to their mem- is made up. The Roman Catholic bers theoretically the right of private church, although containing to some judgment. Romanists refuse it both extent discordant elements, and comtheoretically and practically; but it posed in part of heterogeneous mateis the boast of Protestants to concede rials, is nevertheless a unit-an agthis right to all. Yet the latter are gregated mass. The Protestant world found to be almost as much averse to is a loose heap of disconnected fragthe practical exercise of this privilege ments. The former is a consolidated as the former ; and the pastor or rock, though it be but a puddingpreacher proves often as intolerant of stone—the latter merely the loose any difference of sentiment on the pebbles of which such rocks are formpart of a member, as the
ed. If there be more freedom of priest
. And the reason of this is ob- motion amongst the heap of pebbles, viously that each party has equally it is because they are disconnected adopted certain points of doctrine and from each other. The influence of theories of faith and opinion as abso- cohesion remains as powerful as ever lutely essential to salvation, and that, in each of the pebbles of which the couched, as these are in unscriptural heap is composed ; and in like manner language, and framed by the human the spirit of party is as rife in each mind, they exact a more punctilious Protestant community, however small, conformity to them than to the word as in the aggregated mass denominaof God.
ted the Church of Rome. Indeed, It is true, indeed, that this authori- we may go even further, and say
that tative prescription of matters of faith, the spirit of party, the spirit of predoes not appear so conspicuous, nor scription and of proscription, seems, attract so much notice in Protestant- among Protestants, to increase in inism as in Romanism ; but this is tensity in the inverse ratio of the size easily explained. The Roman Cath- of the community.
A large and olic communion is one—that of Pro- flourishing establishment may afford testantism is manifold. A heretic to be generous sometimes, and allow excommunicated by the Romish a reasonable dissent ; but woe betide Bishop becomes at once the object the unfortunate member who indulges of odium and persecution to the whole the slightest difference of opinion in of that vast community in every part an isolated, independent, and impecof the world ; but an individual ex- cable congregation of eight or ten cluded from one congregation of Pro- persons, whose peculiar views and testants, may be gladly received by practices constitute, at least, in their