« VorigeDoorgaan »
ism itself as the inevitable growth of Popery; the confessor choose, he may, according to the but we would hesitate before setting down this doctrine of probability, absolve lis penitents merely as “unfortunately” qualifying a charac- from the most atrocious crimes, provided he ter otherwise unexceptionable.
can find some grave doctor who has found an The moral maxims of the Jesuits may be excuse for them, though the conscience of the ranged under three heads—their doctrine of penitent may condemn him for the deed; and probable opinions, of mental reservations, and there is hardly an offence against the laws of ! of the end sanctifying the means. The doc-morality for which some of these doctors have trine of probability is one of the most extra not discovered some palliation--some quirk by ordinary, and at the same time the most con which it is transferred from the category of venient, ever invented to justify crime and sins to a place among actions that are primatty i subvert all religion. It is briefly this : That innocent. All sins of ignorance, as they have any opinion whatever which has been supported been called—that is, actions committed when' by any learned casuist, or by any argument of the person is not in a state for rightly estimatweight, is to be considered as probable, and, ing the evil of them—when in a state of intherefore, safe to be followed in practice. It toxication, for example-are by these divines matters not though it should be condemned exculpated. “He does not sin," says one of by every other authority, or repugnant to the them,“ unless he reflects upon the wickedness plain dictates of Scripture and morality. “If of it;" so that if a man is ignorant of what he supported by one grave divine, the person who ought to know, if he can contrive not to think! contemplates the act is permitted to do it with of the ten commandments, he may break then out incurring guilt, on the ground that it is all without being guilty of sin! Nay, if bei probably right;" nay, even “if he prefers, commits the sin in such a way as to escape deagainst his own scruples, that which he con tection and avoid scandal, he is to be held as siders probable, he is safe, although he may exculpated. We shall only give one speciinen think that another opinion is more probable." of this, and it will suffice. The Pope had We quote the words of Jesuit casuists. “A threatened excommunication on all monks who judge on the bench, if he should think each laid aside their canonical dress. Escobar, one opinion probable, may, for the sake of his of the most famous of their Jesuit moralists, friend, lawfully pronounce sentence according thus escapes from the dilemma: “A monk to the opinion which is more favourable to his who puts off his religious habit for the space of friend. He may, moreover, with the intent to an hour, does not incur the penalty of excomserve his friend, at one time judge according to munication, when this is done for a sinful par. one opinion, and at another according to the I vose.” The reason of this is, that he wicht do contrary opinion, prorided only that no scandal more scandal to religion in such a case by result from the decision.” “I think it probabie;" keeping it on! says another casuist of this school,“ that the Under the head of mental reservation, it is cloak which I possess is my own; yet I think it only necessary to state, that all kinds of more probable that it belongs to you. I am not lying and perjury are permitted. Thus Cajetan !! bound to gire it up to you, but I may safely retain affirms that a person, when accused, may anit.” “If a subject,” says another, “thinks pro swer that he had no accomplices, althongh he bably that a tax has been unjustly imposed, he actually had-meaning, in other crimes; and that is not bound to pay it." We may well understand he was innocent of the crime laid to himhow, according to this system, one of their meaning, since he had been in prison! But the leading casuists is led to exclaim with rapture: leading maxim of this school, under which they “ In this diversity of opinions the yoke of attempt to shelter the worst crimes, such as Christ is pleasantly borne !"
theft, dishonesty in trade, murder, treason, and The frightful extent of mischief to which regicide-is, that the end sanctifies the means : in this doctrine leads it is hardly possible to over other words, that the deed is rendered innoestimate. If even among Protestants, who are cent, and even laudable, provided the person taught to look to the written Word of God for has a good intention or a holy end to serve by his commands, it would be dangerous doctrine committing it. We feel that, in stating some to teach that every man is at liberty to act ac out of the many detestable maxims that have cording to what his conscience, well or ill-in- emanated from the Jesuitical school on this formed, might direct; what must be its necessary head, the reader will find it difficult to believe '! result in the case of the Jesuit or the Roman that human ingenuity could have invented! Catholic, who is taught to regard the voice of such apologies for vice, or that men professing the Church or the command of his superior religion should have dared to publish them. paramount to all other authority? If the su The following, however, are extracted terbatim perior be a bad man, he has only to command out of books that have been published and ap the Jesuit to commit a crime-it may be to proved by the Society: “ If you are preparing steal, to perjure himself, to utter falsehoods and to give false evidence against me, by which I calumnies, or to murder; and he is taught to should receive sentence of death, and I have consider that command as the cominand of no other means of escape, it is lawful for me to God, and binding upon his conscience ! If | kill you, since I should otherwise be killed ing. 1
THE POWER OF CHRISTIANITY.
elf.” “It will be lawful for an ecclesiastic to eyes with tears. He deligbts to dwell on religious ill a columniator, who threatens to spread atro- subjects; and to talk with a pious friend of the topics ious accusations against himself or his religion, | Recently his aged conipanion, who had trodden the
which his heart loves gives him evident delight. vhen other means of defence are wanting.” | path of life with him from youth to old age, died in "The calumniator should first be warned that his presence. She died, what is called by Christians le desist from his slander; and if he will not, a triumphant death. Her last words were addressed le should be killed, not openly, on account of the
to her children, who stood around : “I see the cross;" candal, but secretly.” “If a judge has been un a gleam of pleasure passed over her features, her ast, and has proceeded without adhering to
eyes lighted up with peculiar brightness; she said:
“Blessed Jesus, the last hour is come: I am ready!” he course of law, then certainly the accused and thus she departed. At ner death the old man night defend himself by assaulting, and even wept freely and wept aloud; but his sorrow, he said, villing, the judge.” “It is lawful for a son to re was mingled with a sweet joy. Flow desolate would voice at the murder of his parent, committed by have been the condition of this poor cripple for the himself in a state of drunkenness, provided the joy last twenty years without the consolations of faith in felt is on account of the great riches thence had for years sat by his side, how appalling would
Christ! and when his aged companion died, who acquired by inheritance!" “ I shall never con
have been the gloom that would have settled upon sider that man to have done wrong," says his soul, had not his mind been sustained by heavenly Mariana, “who, favouring the public wishes, hope ! Ilis case shows that the religion of Christ would attempt to kill a tyrant. To put tyranni- will keep the affectious warm and tender even to the cal princes to death is not only lawful, but a
latest periods of old age, and give happiness to the
soul under circumstances of the most severe temlaudable, heroic, and glorious action."
poral bereavement. Such are some of the principles for having CASE II.--A converted Atheist. I knew that there " unfortunately” fallen into which, the Jesuits were those in the world who professed to doubt the have found apologists even among Protestants, existence of a God; but I had met with no one, in all though they have been condemned for them my intercourse with mankind, who seemed so sinby many Roman Catholics.
cerely and so entirely an Atheist as the individual
whose case is now introduced. The first time that I (To be continued.)
met him was at the house of his son-in-law, a gentleman of piety and intelligence. His appearance was
that of a decrepit, disconsolate old man. In the THE POWER OF CHRISTIANITY.
course of conversation he unhesitatingly expressed
his unbelief of the existence of a God, and his sus(From “ The Philosophy of the Plan of Salvation.") religion. I learned from others that he had ceased
picion of the motives of most of those who professed The following is a true statement of the influence of in some measure to have intercourse with men-had the religion of Jesus upon several individual members
become misanthropic in his feelings, regarding man. of a village church in one of the United States. It
kind in the light of a family of sharks, preying upon is composed of members of common intelligence, and
each other; and his own duty in such a state of those in the common walks of life. Other churches things, he supposed to be, to make all honest endeamight have been selected, in which. perhaps, a
vours to wrest from the grasp of others as much as greater number of interesting cases might have been
he could. He used profane language, opposed the found; and there are other individuals in this church
temperance reformation, and looked with the deepest that would furnish as good an illustration of the
hatred upon the ministers of religion. His social power of the Gospel, as some of those which are
affections seemed to be withered, and his body, symnoticed below. This church has been selected, be pathizing, was distorted and diseased by rheumatic cause the writer had a better opportunity of visiting
pains. it, in order to obtain the facts, than any other in
1. This old man had for years been the subject of which he knew the power of the religion of Christ special prayer on the part of his pious daughter and was experienced.
his son-in-law; and he was finally persuaded by them With the individuals spoken of I am well ac
to attend a season of religious worship in the church quainted, having frequently conversed with them all
of which they were members. During these services, on the subjects of which I shall speak. Their words
which lasted several days, he passed from his
Atheism. in all cases may not have been remembered, but the
The change seemed to surprise every sense is truly given :
one, and himself as much as any other. From CASE 1:—An old man, who has been a professor of being an Atheist, he became the most simple and religion from early life. He was once a deacon or
implicit believer.' He seemed like a being who had elder of the church. Twenty years ago he was
waked up in another world, the sensations of which struck with paralysis, by which he has been ever
were all new to him; and although a man of sound since confined almost entirely to his room. His
sense in business affairs, when he began to exsituation is one that, to a mind which had no inward
press his religious ideas, bis language seemed strange consolation, would be irksome in the extreme. His
and incongruous, from the fact that, while his soul books are the Bible, and one or two volumes of the
was now filled with new thoughts and feelings, he old divines. He is patient and happy; and speaking
had no knowledge of the language by which such of the love of Christ almost invariably suffuses his by his conversion were as follows stated at one
thoughts are usually expressed. The effects produced * These maxims have been selected, for the sake of con
time to myself, and upon another occasion to one of venience, from a little work by Dalton -- " The Jesuits :
the most eminent medical practitioners in this their Principles and Acts" (London, 1843)- where the autho country. One of the first things which he did after rities are given at length. It would be easy to add to their his conversion was to love, in a practical manner, number; the above are merely given as a specimen of the nature of the charges brouzht against the Jesuits.
his worst enemy. There was one man in the village reader may be further referred to Dr Duff's cloquent pam.
who had, as le supposed, dealt treacherously with phlet on the Jesuits, lately published.
him in some money transactions which had occurred
between them. On this account personal enmity alone," said the old man; “ God is with me." He had long existed between the two individuals. When | said that his work seemed easy to him, and his peace converted, he sought his old enemy, asked his for of mind continued with scarcely an interruption. I giveness, and endeavoured to benefit him by bringing saw him at a time when he had just received intelliKim under the influence of the Gospel.
gence that a son, who had gone to the south, had 2. His benevolent feelings were awakened and ex been shot in a personal altercation, in one of the panded. His first benevolent offering was twenty- southern cities. The old man's parental feelings five cents, in a collection for charitable uses. were moved, but he seemed even under this sudden now gives very liberaliy, in proportion to his means, and distressing affliction to derive strong consolation, to all objects which he thinks will advance the in from trust in God. terests of the Gospel of Christ. Besides supporting 6. Physical effects of the moral change. As 5000 his own Church, and her benevolent institutions, no as his moral nature had underyone a change, his enterprise of any denomination, which he really be- body, by sympathy, felt the benign influence. His lieves will do good, fails to receive something from countenance assumed a milder and more intelligent hin, if he has the means. During the last year he aspect; he became more tidy in his apparel; and has given more, with a design of benefiting his fel his “thousand pains" in a good measure left him. low-men, than he had done in his whole lifetime in his case there seeined to be a renovation both of before.
soul and body. 3. His affections have received new life. He said This case is not exaggerated. The old man is living, to me, in conversation upon the subject : " One part and there are a thousand livirg witnesses to this tes of the Scriptures I feel to be true-- that which says: timony, among whom is an intelligent physician, * I will take away the hard and stony heart, and give who, hearing the old man's history of his feelings, you a heart of tleshi.' Once I seemed to have no and having known him personally for years, and the 1 feeling; now, thank God, I can feel. I have buried obvious effects which faith in Christ had produced in two wives and six children; but I never shed a tear this case, coinbined with other influences by which
- I felt hard and unhappy; now my tears flow at the he was surrounded, was led seriously to examine the recollection of these things.". The tears at that time subject of religion, as it concerned his own spiritual wet the old man's cheeks. It is not probable that, interest. By this examination he was led to relin since his conversion, there has been a single week quish the system of “rational religion” (as the that he has not shed tears; before conversion, he had Socinian system is most inappropriately called by its not wept since the age of manhood. An exhibition adherents), and profess his faith in orthodox religion. ! of the love of Christ will, at any time, move his feel Case III.-Two individuals who have always been ings with gratitude and love, until the tears moisten poor in this world's goods, but who are rich in faith.
any years ago they lived in a new settlement where 4. Effect upon his life. Since his conversion, he there were no religious services. The neighbourhas not ceased to do good as he has had opportunity. hood, at the suggestion of one of its members, met toSeveral individuals have been led to repent and be- gether on the Sabbath to sing the Lord's praises, and lieve in Christ through his instrumentality. Some to hear a sermon read. Those sermons were the means of these were individuals whose former habits ren of the conversion of the mother of the family. She dered a change of character very improbable in the lived an exemplary life, but her husband still contieyes of most individuals--one of them, who had nued impenitent, and becaine somewhat addicted to fallen into the habit of intemperance, is now a re intemperance. Some of the children of the family, spectable and happy father of a respectable Chris as they reached mature years, were converted; the
| tian family. He has been known to go to several husband, and, finally, after a few years, all the refamilies on the same day, pray with them, and in- maining children embraced religion. From the day vite them to attend religious worship on the Sabbath; of the husband's conversion, he drank no more liquor; and when some difficulty was stated as a hindrance to and, he says, he always afterwards thought of the 4 their attendance, he has assisted them to buy shoes, habit with abhorrence. The old people live alone. and granted other little aids of the kind, in order that The old woman's sense of hearing has so failed that they might be induced to attend divine service. A she hears but imperfectly. When the weather will most remarkable fact concerning this old man has also allow, she attends church regularly, but sometimes come to the knowledge of the author.
When con hears but little of the sermon. In church, on the verted, one of his first acts, although he had heard Sabbath, she looks up at the minister with a countenothing of any such act in others, was to make out a nance glowing with an interested and happy expreslist of his old associates then living within reach of his sion. She has joy to know that the minister is influence. For the conversion of these he determined preaching about Christ. The minister once described to labour as he had opportunity, and pray daily. On religion possessed, as a spring of living water, flowing his list were one hundred and sixteen names, among from the rock by the way-side, which yields to the whom were sceptics, drunkards, and other indivi- weary traveller' refreshment and delight; the old duals, as little likely to be reached by Christian in- lady, at the close, remarked with meekness: "I fluence as any other men in the region. Within two hope I have drank many times of those sweet years from the period of the old man's conversion waters." one hundred of these individuals had made a profes Except what concerns their particular domestic sion of religion. We can hardly suppose that the duties, the conversation of this aged pair is almost old man was instrumental in the conversion of all entirely religious. They are devout, and very happy these persons; yet the fact is one of the most re in each others society; and sometimes, in their markable that has been developed in the progress of family devotions and religious conversations, their Christianity.
hearts glow with love to God. They look forward 5. Effect upon his happiness. In a social meeting to death with the consoling hope that they will of the Church where he worships, I heard him make awake in the likeness of the glorious Saviour, and so such an expression as this: “I have rejoiced but “be for ever with the Lord." once since I trusted in Christ—that has been all the CASE IV.-A female who, in early life, united time." His state of mind may be best described in with the Church, and conscientiously performed the his own characteristic language. One day, while re external duties of Christian life. She had, for many! pairing his fence, an individual passing addressed years, little if any happiness in the performance of hiin : “Mr -, you are at work all alone.” “Not | her religious duties, yet would have been more un
ILLUSTRATIONS OF SCRIPTURE EVIDENCES.
happy if she had not performed them. She married teuch certainly received among the Jews from the a gentleman who, during the last years of his life, very commencement of their state. The narrawas peculiarly devoted. During this period, in attending upon the means of grace, she experienced brought upon the Egyptiaus, from which the
tive of their oppression in Egypt-of the plagues an entire change in her condition. she says, that * now she gave up all for Christ. Israelites alone were exempted—of their passage She felt averse to everything which she believed to through the Red Sea, while their enemies sank be contrary to his will. To the will of Jesus she like lead in the mighty waters—of the publicacould now. submit for ever, with joyful and entire tion of the law from Sinai amid thunderings, confidence : she now loved to pray, and found happi- and lightnings, and tempest—of their forty ness in obeying the Saviour.” She made, as she believes, at that time, an entire surrender of all her years' sojourn in the wilderness, during which interests, for time and eternity, to Christ, and since they were miraculously fed with manna from then her labours in his service have been happy heaven, and supplied with water from the flinty labours. Before they were constrained by con rock-could never have found credit, had it not science, now they are prompted by the affections. been true. Moses, in the law itself, appeals to She does not think she was a Christian before. She
the miracles which he affirms to have been had repented in view of the law, but she had not, till the time mentioned, exercised affectionate faith wrought before the eyes of the Israelites. He in Christ. She now often prays most solicitously for
not only asserts that the law was from God, the conversion of sinners and the sanctification of the but that the people themselves had heard a part Church. She loves to meet weekly in the female of it published with His own voice, and that they circle for prayer, and labours to induce others to had been eye-witnesses of the signs and wonattend with her. Her little son, nine years of age, is, ders by which his mission had been accredited. as she hopes, a Christian; and her daughter, just Now it is utterly incredible that any man would approaching the years of womanhood, has recently united with the Church. Two years since her hus- have risked his character and influence by an band died, under circumstances peculiarly afflicting. appeal to such attestations from heaven, which She prayed for resignation, and never felt any dis- all who heard him, or read his writings, must position to murmur against the providence of God. have known had not been given. “He would She sometimes blamed herself that she had not thought of other expedients to prolong, if possible; with horrible plagues, if none had been inflicted
not have dared to affirm that Egypt was smitten the life of one that she loved so tenderly; but to God she looked up with submission, and said in spirit: upon it; that the Red Sea was divided be“ The cup that my Father hath mingled for me, shall fore the twelve tribes, if they had not passed I not drink it?"
through the midst of its waves; that manna fell
from heaven around their tents, if they had TIME.
never eaten that heavenly food; or that God Time's an hand's-breadth; 'tis a tale;
spake to them out of the midst of the fire, if "Tis a vessel under sail;
they had not heard his voice publishing the 'Tis an eagle in its way,
decalogue from Sinai. These events, on the Darting down
supposition that they really took place, were upon
prey; 'Tis an arrow in its flight,
exposed to the senses of all the people; and no
man who had not been a witness of them could Mocking the pursuing sight; 'Tis a short-liv'd fading flower;
have been persuaded that he had. If, however, "Tis a rainbow on a shower;
it be conceived possible for one man to be
reasoned or cheated out of his senses, we may "Tis a momentary ray, Smiling in a winter's day;
without hesitation deny the possibility of such Tis a torrent's rapid stream;
a deception in the case of two or three millions Tis a shadow; 'tis a dream;
of spectators.” *
Another decisive proof of the Mosaic history "Tis the closing watch of night,
is its impartiality. The whole account of the Dying at the rising light;
Jewish nation may be said to be written, not Tis a bubble; 'tis a sigh;Be prepard, O man! to die.
only impartially, but even severely. No attempt
is made to minister to their national vanity, by QUARLES.
glossing over their faults and failings, or by
exaggerating their virtues. On the contrary, ILLUSTRATIONS OF SCRIPTURE their frequent murmurings and distrust of EVIDENCES.
God, their apostasy and rebellion, their relapses into idolatry, their imitation of the foul
crimes of those nations whom God had driven BY THE REV. JAMES TAYLOR, ST ANDREWS.
out from before them, and the judgments which were sent upon them because of their sins, are
all faithfully recorded, without the slightest Continued from page 473.
attempt to palliate or disguise them. They are Secondly, The events related in these books repeatedly reproached with their crimes, loaded are of such a kind, that we cannot suppose, if with the epithets of stiff-necked, rebellious, and the account of them had been a fabrication, idolatrous, and denounced as a stubborn and that any man could have obtained for it that rebellious generation—a generation that set not universal credit and authority which the Penta
* Dick on Inspiration. p. 104.
THE AUTHENTICITY OF THE SCRIPTURES.
their heart aright, and whose spirit was not congregation can be collected together at the stedfast with God.” A historian who thus con shortest warning. We are told of dead bodies cealed nothing that would disgrace his country “ carried out of the camp," and of victims, on men was not likely to invent anything to exalt particular occasions, being burned without the them.
camp.” Exact details are given, not only of the The same stern impartiality is manifested in arrangement of the families of the Levites the manner in which the nearest relatives of around the tabernacle, but of the particular Moses are spoken of. The participation of his parts of that structure which each family was brother Aaron in the great sin of setting up the to carry during the march; and the most minute golden calf—the attack made by him and his directions are laid down as to the mode of sister Miriam on the authority of Moses, on taking these different parts asunder, protecting account of which Miriam was smitten with them from the injuries of the weather during leprosy—the death of Nadab and Abihu, the the march, carrying and setting them up-de. sons of Aaron, who were destroyed by fire from tails which it would have been most unnatural the Lord, because they offered strange fire upon for a writer to give, who lived long after these the altar, are all fully stated. The events in marciies had ceased, when all such directions the life of the legislator himself are related in were utterly superfluous. The present tense! a plain, simple, and unembellished style. No is constantly used in speaking of the facts in attempt is made to couceal his distrust and the wilderness; the future, in speaking of any. unwillingness to undertake the deliverance of thing to be done in the land of Canaan; and it the Israelites, even after God had graciously is not till the people have reached the very assured him of his assistance, and had wrought borders of the promised land, that directions three different miracles, and enabled him to are given respecting houses, and cities, and repeat them; or his impatient expostulation with vineyards, and mention is made of the gate of God when Pharaoh had increased the burdens the city, of the elders of the city, and of other of the Hebrews; or, above all, the offence of objects and circumstances suited to the new which he and Aaron were guilty at the waters situation in which the people were shortly to Meribah, where they “spake unadvisedly with be placed. their lips, and were in consequence excluded Of the undesigned coincidences with which from the promised land. A comparison of this the Books of Moses abound we can only mensimple and unadorned narrative with the cm tion one or two instances, referring those who bellished history of the same events given by wish to investigate further this interesting subJosephus, in which the virtues of the Jewish ject to the excellent works of Dr Graves and legislator are magnified, and his faults either Mr Blunt.* softened and extenuated or altogether sup On the day when lloses set up the tabernacle, pressed, shows the striking difference betweon the different princes of Israel made an offerthe genuine narrative of Moses himself and the ing of six waygons and twelve oxen. Two compilation of a historian writing under the of these waggons and four oxen Moses gave to influence of the more uncontrolled feelings and the sons of Gershon, and four waygous and partialities of the human mind. The strict eight oxen to the sons of Nerari.-Numb. vii. in partiality, therefore, of the Mosaic history | 7, $. No reason is specified why twice as shows that we may rely on the truth of its many waggons and oxen were assigned to statements, even in the most minute parti- Merari as to Gershon; but, on turning back culars.
to a former chapter (iv. 24-33), separated, These arguments in favour of the authenticity however, from the one which contains this of the Books of Moses are corroborated by the statement by various details entirely unconundesigned coincidences between them, and nected with this subject, we find it mentioned the adaptation of the whole narrative-its facts, that the family of Gerslıon was appointed to sentiments, and language--to the peculiarities of carry the lighter parts of the tabernacle-its the situation in which the Israelites were placed. curtains and coverings, its hangings and cords; The narrative constantly assumes that they were while the family of Merari was appointed to sojourning in the wilderness, all collected to. carry the solid and heavy parts of the structure gether, dwelling in tents, possessing no landed -its boards, and bars, and pillars. This cirproperty or houses, without local distinctions or cumstance at once accounts for the inequality tribunals-placed in a situation, in short, in in the division of the waygons and oxen, and which they never were either before or after. yet it is mentioned so incidentally that no one The whole detail of facts and regulations is in can, for a moment, imagine that it was inserted perfect harmony with the peculiarities of such for any such purpose. à condition. There are laws which, if we may In the 16th chapter of the Book of Numbers, so speak, seem to breathe the desert air, and we have an account of a conspiracy against the arrangements for which there was no necessity, authority of Moses and Aaron. The princijal and scarcely any possibility, of their observance parties engaged in it were, Korah, of the after the wanderings in the wilderness were
In all the directions as to public matters, it is constantly taken for granted that the whole
the Rev. R. Graves, D.D. "The Veracity of the five Bok of Moscs, &c. By the Rev. J. J. Blunt.
* Lectures on the four last Books of the Pentateuch. By