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' earnest expectation of the new
St. Peter says, We look
The earth is reserved unto fire against the day of judgment." As the earth partook of the sin* of Adam, so must it undergo a purification; and it will be purified and refined by fire, into a renewed state, that it may be meet for the inheritance of the saints. The earth therefore, as part of the creation, may be said to be waiting for the delivery from the bondage of corruption.
Let us next direct our attention to animals, who have not sense to know, that they (not they individually, but each after his kind) will live in a righteous earth. It has been before observed, that with Adam all else fell; but in the renovated earth we find, that "the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the 'young lion and the fatling together; ' and a little child shall lead them." As it was in paradise, (where all animals who are now the most ferocious, lived together with the most harmless,) so will it be in the kingdom of our Lord: for as they partook of the nature of sin, and became fierce and savage, so will they be sharers of the peaceable state of the regenerate earth.
It may be further asked, how can the ungodly part of mankind ;—the vain trifler, who sees no pleasure in
*We were about to correct the word sin to curse, presuming that our Correspondent had inadvertently used the former, (as also the word fall,) for the latter but perceiving that the same phrases are used throughout, with an application of them to the earth and to animals, we have not ventured to alter it. We likewise take this opportunity of observing, that the letter of our friend Modestus, was so closed up with wafers and wax, as to render it difficult to open it without detriment to the writing; and if therefore he find a verbal alteration here and there, he must chiefly attribute it to this circumstance. One short sentence in the postscript has suffered so much, that, as it does not appear to concern the argument, and we doubt if we can supply the defective words, we have omitted it. ED.
any thing but dissipation;-the man
It requires no argument to insist, that the real children of God, who have been blessed with knowledge unto salvation, are waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God; which is equivalent with the advent of Christ for when he comes, the secrets of all hearts will be disclosed; and it will be made manifest who are his, from the foundation of the world.
Thus have we seen that "not only we, but the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain If I am together until now." mistaken in the true import of Abdiel's words, this will appear troublesome and I heartily pray, that if there is one thing advanced contrary to the word of God, it may fall to the ground; but if this be in accordance with His will, and His word, he may give power to receive it to as many as he will.
It may perhaps be imagined, that there is no practical use in this argument: but has it no tendency to bring man to look more to the second advent of our Lord? at whose coming, shall be the restitution of all things: not the glorification only of those who are now in Christ, but also the renovation of all created matter; with the exception of those poor souls, who are doomed to undergo an endless eternity of torment: although in one sense, even they will be restored, for their bodies will rise again. If this were preached, the ungodly, who, if the doctrine of election is mentioned to them, say directly, if there is such a thing as election, all I can do will neither save nor unsave me ;-if I say, the restitution of all things were preached unto them, they would perhaps see, that they are in a worse condition than brute beasts.
I leave the insertion or rejection of this to your better judgment, and beg most respectfully to remain,
REVIEW OF BOOKS, &c.
(3) Natural History of Enthusiasm. gious error of any description. He
informs us indeed what enthusiasm is not; (viz. not a term of measurement, consisting merely in the degree or excess of the religious emotions ;) but he leaves us to infer its quality from a description of those various errors, which he supposes to be propagated by enthusiasts alone. We have thus no sufficient test, whereby to prove those other phenomena, which do not happen to be enumerated in the work: nor indeed have we any actual criterion at all, beyond the individual judgement and spiritual attainments of the Author. It is not to be expected that a writer, in order to illustrate the nature of an evil, will bring forward such cases as shall expose himself to the imputation of infection: most men are disposed to take for granted, that they are themselves exempt from that which they denounce in others. So far indeed is the Author's mode of proceeding from being satisfactory in this respect, that many of his own statements, designed to fix and define the standard of enthusiasm, will by some sober christians be adjudged obnoxious to that very condemnation, which he pronounces on the sentiments of others.
Pp. vi, 320, 8vo., 8s. Holdsworth & Ball. 4th Ed. 1830.
SECTION V. THE ENTHUSIASM OF
It does not fall within our province to review the whole of the Treatise now before us: our more immediate business is with that section, the title of which heads these observations, viz. "The Enthusiasm of Prophetical Interpretation." We shall, therefore, only notice the remaining part of the volume so far as may be necessary to exhibit the real character of the subject under consideration.
One great defect in our humble judgement pervades the whole Treatise viz. the want of a clear and fixed criterion, which shall first precisely define, in what enthusiasm consists; and to which we may afterwards refer and judge the various phenomena observable in the religious world. Such a principle is the more to be desired in a work which treats on so delicate a subject ;—a subject which inevitably leads the Author to assail much of that religious profession, which passes in the Church of Christ for genuine piety. We have sought in vain for this criterion in those passages, which seem at first to promise us a definition. Sometimes the Author appears to expound it to be the influence of the imagination to the exclusion of the judgement; next we are disposed to infer, that it is an undue excitement of the animal affections; again we apprehend it to be the absorption of the mind in some one favourite object; and then we are tempted to conclude, that he means by it reli
To give an instance or two: we would point to his expectation, contained in the Section on The Enthusiasm of Heresy, that we are rapidly approximating to unanimity of sentiment in the church! Also to the whole of the last Section on The Probable Spread of Christianity, in which he anticipates, from the operation of our present means, a bright era of renovation. A still more questionable point, to which he would affix the stamp of enthusiasm, is to be found in the Section
on Enthusiasm in Devotion; in the course of which (if we understand him) he admits the propriety of selfexamination, when it is limited to the temper and conduct; but deprecates it, when it would inquire into the motives and affections of the heart. The confessions of Augustine are confounded and condemned with the maxims of La Rochefoucault; and, by an implication, pretty broadly insinuated, such works as the Private Thoughts of Beveridge and Adams are censured as unscriptural, and as fostering religious despondency and hypochondriasis. We can concur with our Author, that a morbid sensibility is often to be found in connexion with self-examination; and that the souls of many are cast down and disquieted within them, owing to excessive scrupulousness on this point;-excessive only because it is exclusive, and allows them not still to look at the Redeemer, and to thank God through our Lord Jesus Christ. But though we admit this, we cannot sweep from our shelves writers of the class which he has instanced in Augustine, without some clearer marks of spuriousness than those exhibited by the dubious test of the Author. Were we to adopt his criteria should begin to question, if it were' lawful to dwell on St. Paul's description of his experience in the seventh chapter of Romans.--We should be led to hesitate to what extent it were right to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees; or to ask ourselves whether or not we performed our works to be seen of men.-We should doubt the propriety of praying with the Psalmist, "Search me, O God, " and know my heart; try me, and "know my thoughts."-We should fear, as ministers, to exhort our hearers to crucify their affections, and to warn them, that all things are naked and open to the eyes of
Him with whom we have to do," who is also a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
Compelled as we are to these preliminary remarks, we are nevertheless ready to admit, that the Author brings to his work the advantages of a powerful understanding; and that the volume before us abounds with original, striking, and useful sentiments,-with proofs of no ordinary observance of the workings of the human mind, and of a manifest ability nicely to analyse and discriminate the real character of religious profession, whensoever he applies to it the touch-stone of divine truth: and though we are not satisfied, that in general the imputation of enthusiasm is fixed with propriety; yet there is much which the student of prophecy will do well seriously to weigh, and much by which he may doubtless profit.
The Author commences by endeavouring to identify prophetical enthusiasm with insanity; and asserts, "whether his explanation be just or not, that, at least, no species of enthusiasm has carried its victims nearer to the brink of insanity, than that which originates in the interpretation of unfulfilled prowephecy." Where the expectation of impending wonders has so far diseased the spiritual appetite, that it ceases to hunger and thirst for the bread and water of life, and has no relish but for political news, the Author justly concludes; that, though truth may be with the infected individual, the truth has nevertheless become entangled with some egregious error. He then continues :
are incompatible with the principles of Protestantism, as well as unnecessary, arrogant, and unavailing.”—“In truth, there is something incongruous in the notion of a revelation enveloped in menace and restriction. But, be this as it may, it is certain, that whoever would shut up the Scriptures, in whole or in part, from his fellow disciples, or who affirms it to be unsafe or unwise to study such and such passages, is bound to shew reasons of the most convincing kind for the exclusion."
Moreover, prohibitions of this kind. are futile, because impossible to be observed. Every one admits that the study of those prophecies, which have already received their accomplishment, is a high and positive duty; we have a sure word of prophecy, to which we do well to take heed.' But how soon, in attempting to discharge this duty, are we entangled in a snare—if indeed the study of unfulfilled prophecy be in itself improper! For many of the prophecies, and those especially which are the most definite, and the most intelligible, stretch themselves across the wide gulf of time, and rest upon points intervening between the days of the Seer, and the hour when the mystery of providence shall be finished: and these predictions, instead of tracking their way by equal and measured intervals through the course of ages, traverse vast spaces unmarked; and with a sudden bound, parting from an age now long gone by, attain at once the last period of human economy. These abrupt transitions create obscurities which must either shut up the whole prophecy from inquiry, or necessitate a scrutiny of the whole; for, at a first perusal, and without the guidance of learned investigation, who shall venture to place his finger on the syllable which forms the boundary between the past and the future—which constitutes the limit between duty and presumption? diction which may seem to belong to futurity, will, perhaps, on better information, be found to regard the past-or the reverse. These extensive prophecies, (and such are those of Daniel and of John,) must then either be shunned altogether from the fear of trespassing on forbidden ground; or they must be studied entire, in dependence upon other means than voluntary ignorance for avoiding presumption
and enthusiasm. Whoever would dis
charge for others the difficult office of marking, throughout the Scriptures, the boundaries of lawful investigation, must
himself first have committed the supposed trespass upon the regions of unfulfilled prophecy. We conclude, therefore, that a separation which no one can effect, is not really needed.
The ancient Church received no cautions against a too eager scrutiny of the great prophecy left to excite its hope: on the contrary, the pious were divinely moved ' to search what might be the purport and season of the revelation made by the 'Spirit of Christ' to the prophets; and though these predictions did in fact give occasion to the delusions of many deceivers ;' and though they were greatly mis-understood, even by the most pious and best informed of the Jewish people; yet did not the foreknowledge of these mischiefs and errors call for any such restrictions upon the spirit of inquiry, as those wherewith some persons are now fain to hedge about the Scriptures.
To the Christian Church the second coming of Christ stands where his first coming stood to the Jewish-in the very centre of the field of prophetic light; and a participation in the glories 'then to be revealed' is even limited to those who in every age are devoutly 'looking for him.' It is true that this doctrine of the second coming of Christ has, like that of his first, wrought strongly upon enthusiastic minds, and been the occasion of some pernicious delusions; yet, for the correction of these incidental evils, we must look to other means than to any existing cautions given to the Church in the Scriptures against a too earnest longing for the promised advent of her King. To snatch this great promise from Scripture in hasty fear, and then to close the book lest we should see more than it is intended we should know, is not our part. On the contrary, it is chiefly from a diligent and comprehensive study of the terms of the great unfulfilled prophecy of Scripture, that a preservative against delusion is to be gathered. To check assiduous researches by cautions which the humble may respect, but which the presumptuous will certainly contemn, is to abandon the leading truth of Revelation to the uncorrected wantonness of fanaticism." Pp. 103–109.
Proceeding onward to expose the evil character and tendency of dogmatism, the Author distinguishes the language of prophecy into common and mystical. Predictions delivered in the plain and literal style of com