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The next circumstance I shall notice is this, that Mr. F. very liberally supposes the minds of those, for whose enmity to his system he attempts to give an account, are in a perver'le: stale ; whilst at the same time, the tendency of the Essay is to include all, whose sentiments are not Evangelical or Epistolical. The title says, “ Men of Taste," but the Essay says, men of perverted minds; that is such as have no taste or judgment. And here lies the sophism. Now Sir, I contend that this is not fair play. To use a common phrase, it is lasbing another over my back, so that I am to feel every stroke which is avowedly intended for him.
Whatever Mr. F. may think, as I do not think that the mind of every one who does not believe Evangelical (Epistoli, cal) Christianity is perverted, but am inclined to give credit to some of them at least, for a little common sense and common honesty, I proceed to observe, that pure christi. anity does not « meet with a disposition in such men tv shrink from any of its peculiarities." It is not pure christianity to which they object, but that heterogeneous mixture, that spurious breed, half-monster, half-man, from which pure christianity differs as much as the sun from a candle, The repugnance of men of taste or judgment is not to what is “ purely divine," but to what is purely human, and so plainly human, that it were as easy to make the poles of the earth meet, as to make these two repulsive powers cordially embrace each other. It is true that the man of taste feels all that “ disgust against the system” which Mr. F. describes, and the reason is because it is a disgusting object. He truly feels as if he “ observed an angel diyested of his radiance and confined in a human form," to which, Mr. F. mighı have added, horns and a cloven foot have been also given.
Amongst other reasons assigned by Mr. F. for the rejection of Evangelical Christianity by Men of Taste, is ss the peculiarity of language in which it is expressed.” Willingly do we admit the truth of this, and allow that Mr. F. cannot do a greater service to christianity than by abolishing these barbarous terms. But I apprehend that he is not aware of the extent to which he may be led, after he has performed vhe Herculean labour of cleansing this Augæan stable: the road being cleared, the path at once lies open to pure, to rational christianity. In fact, I conceive Mr. F. will find, that Evangelical Christianity consists in this very.“ peculiarity of terms;" and that this shell being broken, the kernel will be found but small. By peculiar terms, I mean unscriptural, inexplicable terms; such as Trinity, Trinity in Unity, Triune Deity, Three Persons in One God, Immaculate Conception, Virgin Mother, Divine Humanity, Atoning blood of Deity, with a numerous retinue of et ceteras. "Such is the language in which Evangelical Christianity is expressed, and on which it is built; is it then to be wondered at if the system itself cannot be “ apprchended with proinnt facility?" .
Another cause of its being rejected by Men of Taste, says Mr. F., is the “ bad writing of its advocates. This is something like arguing in a circle. The writing is bad, because the writers are bad, and the writers are bad because they are not men of learning, men of judgment or taste.
The objection against the heathen writers, I consider to be in a great measure trifling, because all children are or ought to be well acquainted with the history of Jesus Christ, and instructed in the leading principles of christianity, before they can read Homer or Virgil. But if there be any force at all in the objection, it is by no means peculiar to Evangelical Christianity, but applies equally lo every other system.
But lest I should occupy too great a portion of your pages with these desultory remarks, I shall add but one observation more, which is, that the Essay in question, seems to be founded upon the opinion that aļl men ought to be for ever inculcating upon others the peculiar doctrines of their own creed. Mr. F. seems to have forgotten that men have other business to perform; many active and social duties to discharge. The apostles it is true went about from place to place, constantly preaching christianity to all. But be it remembered, this was their business. And it is no more in the power of every man to act in this manner, and no more their duty to do so, than it is in the power af Mi. Foster to make all men converts to his peculiar system, or the duty of all men (TWv ovisuai xatnyogollayiev,
b QTONOV Elevwv) to make a profession of Calvinistic or Evangelical Christianity.
I am Sir, with great respect, · Nottingham,
Yours, &c. March 20, 1897
Our Lord's Agony in the Garden. Two DiscoursesBy the late Rev. IV. Turner, of Wakefield.
3. DISCOURSE 1.
MATTHEW xxvi. 39 And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, * O my Father ! if it be possible, let this cup pass from me ; nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt."
This passage of our Lord's History, relative to his agony in the garden of Gethsemane, is very affecting and surprising ; at the same time, it seems somewhat difficult to apprehend the nature and design of his sufferings in this terrible scene, and what the import of this petition he offered up to his father in these words. :
The blessed Jesus perfectly well knew from the beginning, not only all that he was to do and to teach, but also all that he was to suffer; and that his public sufferings and death were necessary to ascertain his subsequent resurrection, and were therefore appointed for him, by the counsels and good-pleasure of his heavenly Father, as an essential and fundamental part of that scheme of redemption, which God had purposed to effectuate for mankind; the execution whereof was committed to himself;, he had willingly undertaken it, and was now engaged in accomplishing it.
His private thoughts had often dwelt on the contemplation of those sufferings and that death which certainly awaited him ; he had often foretold them to his disciples, and conversed with them very particularly on the subject. He had even foretold them what kind of death he should Buffer, and what circumstances of indignity and abuse should attend it. He had declared to them what consequences of glory to God, of exaltation and power to himself, and of happiness to mankind, through the spread of true religion and righteousness in the world, and in the effectual and everlasting salvation of all who truly believe in him, should accrue from these his approaching sufferings and death.
Whenever he had spoken on this subject, it was with an appearance of the utmost composure and of the most steadily determined purpose, willingly to submit to whatever he was to undergo.
Moreover, he once declared himself perfectly well satis
fied, that this his willing and determined purpose to submit to the approaching sufferings and death, in obedience to the commandment of God, and to execute the designs of the divine benevolence for the salvation of mankind, was highly acceptable and plcasing to his father, and rendered himself the object of his most special favour. Therefore (saith be) doth my Father love me, because I lay down my life. (John X. 17, 18.) With such a composed state of mind and steady resolution had our Lord always looked forward to his approaching death, while vet at a distance...
But, having been a partaker of the human nature and being found in fashion as a man, no doubt, he shared in all the natural weaknesses and blameless infirmities of our mortal frame. Now we know by experience, that the painful ideas of an expected evil will often make much deeper and more powerful impressions upon us, when we apprehend it approaching near and alınost instantly seizing us, than while we conteniplate it at a considerable distance. Whilst in this situation, persons of well cultivated minds and possessed of a habit of reflection and self-goveroment, can look forward to expected unavoidable sufferings (although with a real and very sensible concern) yet with a certain composed tranquillity and steadfastness, resolved to endure them with submission and propriety.. But when the expected sufferings advance into immediate presence, and are on the point of commencing, distress invades the heart much more powerfully, and every preparation of wisdom and fortitude is found scaree sufficient to support it against its own terrors. Such is our natural constitution : such our unavoidable and therefore blameless fcelings from the apprehensions of near approaching sufferings. “We know also, by experience, that when the mind is deeply impressed with painful apprehensions, it produces very considerable and prejudicial effects on the nervous system, and through it on the whole animal frame; and reciprocally, when the pervous system and animal frame are much disordered, very great and injurious effects are occasioned thereby to the mind, which is reduced into a very dark, distressing, and uncomfortable state.
It is very true, that, as the constitutions and habitudes of different persons vary exceedingly, so the degree of the mental and bodily sensibilities in different persons is very various ; and the proportion also of the reciprocal influences of the body upon the soul, and of the soul upon the hody. But take mankind in general, and, I am persuaded, that they
who have attended to, and are acquainted with the human constitution, will readily allow, that this reciprocal influence is very evident and considerable, and produces very important effects to most persons, according as the accidents and events of life are diversified with regard to them.
It is observable in relation to the blessed Jesus, that the Apostle Paul in the 10th chap. of the Epistle to the Hebrews, v. 5, quores a prophecy of the Psalmist concerning hiin in these words :- But a body hast thou prepared me;" or, as the marginal reading is—“ hast fitted me;" which seems to lead one to conclude, that the body which was prepared for him, was such a one as was best fitted to the office he was to support; and suited to the quality of those duties he was to perform in the world. These were, by no means, of the athletic and heroic kind; a robust, hardy frame and unfeeling habitudes of body therefore were not necessary, or expedient for him: but rather, after having taught men the gentler duties of meekness, humility, patience and submission to the will of God under sufferings, he was to set before them an example of these virtues in his own person. He was to bear our sufferings and share in our sorrows. He was to be tempted, or tried, in all points, like as we are, that he might be touched with a feeling of our infirmities; and in that he himself suffered being tempted, he might be better enabled and disposed to succour them that are tempted. Or, as the Apostle elsewhere expresseth it; “For as much, as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he himself likewise took part of the same, and of all the infirmities to which they are subjected in the flesh.” Now, for these purposes a more delicate constitution and great sensibility of the nervous system seem more adapted : and probably this might be the case with our Lord... But be this as it will.
From the preceding observations, I suppose, it will appear very natural and accountable, that notwithstanding our Lord had formerly spoken concerning his sufferings and death with perfect composure and steadiness, and though he continued still, firm und unmoved, in the resolution of his mind and spirit to endure them, yet, when they drew near, he was more deeply and painfully impressed with the expectation of them, and that these impressions might occasion certain disturbed emotions of his spirits, and these emotions produce violent agitations of his whole frame, beyond what he had ever experienced before.