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- Our readers, probably, have turned by this time to the cover of the Christian Review ; and have asked, Why, then, is there no name here ? Our answer to this is short. On our part, there has hitherto been no secrecy; or, at best, but the shew of it. Perhaps we may, ere long, set an example of the course recommended by us. And if our publishers are not already authorised, to give a plain answer to inquiries upon the subject, the only reason is, that till certain arrangements are completed, there is none to give; and whenever, aided by the prayers of our kind readers, we bring our periodical to a settled state, we trust that there will be no anxiety, on our part, to withhold the important secret. We can only say, that if, hereafter, our work should bear a name, we humbly trust, however insignificant that name may be--but enough of the trumpet for the present.
The name of Dr. Hengstenberg is associated, in the minds of those who come from Germany, with the ideas of learning and of piety. Though above entitled theological professor extraordinary, we understand that he has since succeeded to the office of professor in ordinary to the university. The titles of Doctor .and of Professor, however, must not lead our readers to conceive of the worthy editor, as of a man whom the load of years and learning has bent double. Dr. Hengstenberg, we are told, is considerably under thirty years of age: and as we are not able to distinguish which are his own contributions, and which are those belonging to the other worthy names that he has associated with his own, we are unable to say how much of the liveliness, frankness, zeal, simplicity of statement, and other qualities equally pleasing, which we observe in the work before us, are personally attributable to the youth of the Editor. We hope and pray that the Evangelical Church-Gazette will long flourish; and prove the means of unmixed benefit, both in its proper circle and in the church at large, under the direction of its pious and learned Editor.
It is not for every periodical that we can frame a prayer like this. We can remember the first appearance of a review in this country, which, with a high tone of arrogance, and the port of defiance and universal scorn, soon forced itself to be
generally known and dreaded, as the uncompromising organ of faction and infidelity, under the specious cloak of liberality in religion and in politics. Proud were the boasts of its admirers, as they traced its victorious course : and this was the burden of every song
of triumph ; that the contributors to the work were many, or most of them, young, and therefore it might
long be expected to hold its way unchanged. But the prime of that review has now past. It is smitten with imbecility. It exists, indeed,
but its existence is in a manner posthumous: and it goes on by the impetus, acquired in its earlier course; as men sometimes continue to march a few paces forward in battle, after they have received the fatal shot. Tell it not in Edinburgh ! But why not tell it, when the truth is known to all ? Does this once formidable, but now perfectly stingless periodical, strive sometimes to perpetuate, afresh, the severities and atrocities of its youthful days of vigour and of iniquity ? Alas, alas ! the will remains; but the power, the talent, the ability, is gone. What was once brisk invective, is now flat malignity: what was once ferocious, is now tame: what was once glowing, is now ghastly. Look ! see how the wounded snake drags its slow length along. Mark the retributive justice of Heaven. See how the venom now drivels from the jaws, which once could lodge it deep, with fiery fangs erect, in the veins of every foe. So let all the enemies of the truth perish, and come to an end! So may we trace the gradual decline of every work, which is formed in the same spirit ! Behold, the creature yet lives ; but only to shew periodical signs of life: as the dying gymnotus still continues at regular intervals to give, each fainter than the last, its feeble shocks, till at length they would not paralyse a tadpole. No. We will not conceal our feelings. Let those inisunderstand us who please. We rejoice at such a spectacle. We rejoice to contemplate the end of once triumphant and prosperous ungodliness. We survey the last number of this Review with real, with cordial, with intense delight. Yes; and what we have seen in this, we hope to see in others. Their time also shall come. They too, of whatever political party, as many as are against the truth of God, shall see their days of decrepitude and imbecility. We pray that this may be so and we watch, in faith, to see if our prayer be answered. It is a mercy when such mad engines of mischief become effete; as it is a mercy when the maniac is suddenly arrested in his frantic course, and drops to the earth, a helpless idiot. It is cause of rejoicing, when they can no longer complete the mischief which they mean; as it is cause of rejoicing, when, having run a muck, the Malay sinks, stupified by the fumes of his own stimulant, in the street, his meditated murders but half performed. We have no ill will to the writers; but to their writings we have the greatest. For the men themselves, the worst we desire is this : to see them in their right mind, sitting at the feet of Jesus. But for their works we desire, that inefficiency, impotence, fatuity, may be more and more their portion. Yes; hear it, ali men, and mark the event. May their fictions, with every number, become more infantine ; their disquisitions more dry;
VOL. II.-NO, I.
it for a prayer.
their poetry more puling; their prose more soporific! We mean not this for a mere wish, addressed to no one: we mean
Our prayer to God, which we now publicly offer, is, that He will bring the writers to their senses, but that he will infatuate their works.
And meanwhile, to us, and to our fellow-soldiers at Berlin, and to all who stand on the Lord's side, may he give continually more and more of his saving grace and guidance, in the Gospel of his Son; so that we may gather wisdom and power as we advance, and go from strength to strength. Prepared both for labour and for war, we gird up our loins for the course which lies before us. We seek continually, as we proceed, occasion against our opponents; and, as long as there is one of them to be seen, we have nothing to do with peace.
The first extract which we shall offer, from the Evangelical Church-Gazette, is from the opening number of the year 1828.
The commencement of a new year admonishes us to cast a scrutinizing retrospect on that which is past. Such a scrutiny will be best effected, by comparing the execution of the Evangelical Church-Gazette with the idea which was laid down in its plan. This may prove of advantage to us, both by preventing the loss of that, to which we have already attained ; and by keeping before our eyes whatever, in the performance, has come short of the design. The first of our proposed objects in the Evangelical Church Gazette, was strict unity and consistency, in the principles of Christianity, as they are contained in Holy Scripture, and have thence been transferred to the Confessions of our Church. We hope that every impartial reader of the Evangelical Church-Gazette will testify, that our work, in this respect, has continued true to its object. No contribution has been admitted, in which the power of the death and Spirit of Christ is denied ; in which any way to the Father, save that through him, is proposed ; in which any righteousness, save that which is by believing union with him, is maintained. Far from keeping ourselves apart, merely, from open deism and rationalism, we have also declared ourselves against the usurpation of those, who subject the doctrines of Scripture to the authority of their own speculative understanding, corrupt as it is by sin : men, indeed, who, acknowledge themselves believers; yet herein are inconsistent, that they assume the accord. ance of revelation, not with the moral wants of fallen man, but with his speculative reason; a tenet, which never can be maintained, but by the mutilation and dilution of blical doct ne. We have laboured, and will labour, to testify against the destructive indecision of those, who would gladly widen Christ's narrow way, and reconcile his service with the world's. We have, in accordance with Scripture and our church, maintained, that true Christianity consists, neither in a life of sense, unstable and fluctuating, on the one hand ; nor in rigid, lifeless, notional orthodoxy on the other; but in the entire renunciation of self; in unconditional surrender to Jesus, in understanding, heart, and will; manifested in a life of purity, truth, righteousness, and love.-In this exclusive plan of the Evangelical Church-Gazette, there are some who have not been able to find admission. Various contributions have been transmitted to us, the authors of which either question, or openly contest, the first principles of evangelical Christianity. In consequence of rejecting these, we have been charged with intolerance. The charge would be correct, were we the advocates of a philosophic system, resting upon merely human opinions. But
from those who ground their convictions upon the authority of the living God, and to whom his revelations, contained in Scripture, are made clear, trustworthy, and certain, by the inward testimony of the Holy Ghost, none can exact a tolerance of this kind, which allows every thing to pass; save those who, possessing none but merely human opinions, judge of others by themselves; and have notions only, not convictions, the truth of which one is ready to seal, with the sacrifice of all that is earthly. When a man has convictions such as these, even his opponent, if he look within, cannot blame him, for refusing to join hands with him for the dissemination of errors and doubts, which may exercise a prejudicial influence on the salvation of those, for whom, as well as for himself, Christ died. Col. 1, 2.
Upon the inquiry already referred to, “Of what does the Church of the Lord, in our days, stand in need ?” we find, amongst other remarks, the following :
It is evident then, from the very nature of the case, first, that she must ever keep full in view, the PECULIARITY, by which alone she is and can be, what she desires to be, the Church of the Lord. This consists, according to the incontestible, pervading doctrine of the Holy Scriptures, in the conviction of our sinful nature, and proneness to evil; the believing acceptance of the merit of Jesus Christ; the sure conviction thereof, not merely through proofs which are external, and come to us externally *, hut also, more especially, through the Spirit of God (Rom. viii. 16), whose TEMPLE BELIEVERS ARE, IN WHOM HE DWELLS (1 Cor. iii. 16). Consequently, the souls that experience this are filled with the greatest gratitude to Jesus, and with love for his love (John xiv. 23); and, in this love, lead a new and godly life, truly acceptable to him (John xv. 10, 14; 2 Cor. v. 17). This is the way of salvation, (ordnung des heils), as the old divines not unsuitably called it; as it meets us in every page of Holy Scripture; and as it is constantly repeated, in all its records of godly and faithful men. Whether, therefore, this peculiarity, this which alone is real Christianity, manifests itself in her — the Church of the Lord - that should always be ascertained first, but in a time like the present especially; as she is especially bound, at this period, to hold forth an example of real, vital Christianity, as opposed to levity and wanton self-will. Col. 225, 6.
In a literary notice of a new edition of that excellent work, Bengel's Gnomon Novi Testamenti—which deserves a place in the library of every divine, who can bear with crabbed Latinity, when it is made the vehicle of pious and edifying expositionthe reviewer thus
himself :With the return to the Gospel, and the renewed inquiry after the one thing needful, came also inquiries after the writings of this pious and enlightened theologian. Preachers in the waste of the present era, directed men's attention to him; in consequence of which, some of his works became out of print.See, taste, use, whatever of excellent the former age presents. More especially does his GNOMON OF THE New Testament invite young preachers and theologians : a book, which has few like it; concise, original, vigorous, speaking, and living ; a LEARNED commentary, which, while it has its origin in profound love, deepest veneration, and knowledge of the sacred text, simply and humbly follows it; a finger-post, which points the drift of the Spirit of God, in the word of life. The grand, yet simple superscription, “ in quo ex nativa verborum vi simplicitas, profunditas, concinnitas, salubritas sensuum cælestium indicatur,"
• “ To which belong all investigations respecting Christian evidences, which have, in their province, an historical and scientific value.”
characterizes the matter and spirit of this work. A store of solid acquirements, sanctified and animated by profound devotion, expands itself here amid the words of Holy Scripture, in order to manifest, every where, the beam of Divine light; and every attainment, in the department of human science, brings us back to the Gospel of the Son of God, with the confession,“ Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.”-Where will you find such an interpreter as this, among the modern herd of learned commentaries — Learning enough : a cloud of historical, philosophical, philological science, to darken and disfigure the true contents of Holy Scripture: but no faith for what is divine; no perception for what is holy; nothing but profane perversion, exterminating criticism of the principles of godliness, in the sophistical misapplication of human intelligence and acquirements. Col. 229.
We own that it would please us to see sentiments, such as these, countersigned by an English professor. And as to Bengel's Gnomon, we are happy in the opportunity, which has been thus afforded us, of bearing testimony to the merits of so valuable a work. It strikes us, that Christian communities might receive mutual benefit in the way of exchange. The translation of such commentators as Scott, Henry, and Burkitt, might be highly serviceable to some Continental Churches. And we feel little doubt, that the general introduction of Bengel amongst ourselves, though we will not take upon us to answer for every sentiment or explanation which he offers, would be attended with a blessing, both to pastors and to congregations.
We close our extracts with a communication, which will probably interest our readers, respecting the state of private and domestic religion in England, especially in London. It appears that an English Clergyman-who it was we cannot pretend to tell—found his way, in the course of a continental tour, to the Prussian capital ; and by him the communication was made, to some person or persons connected with the Evangelical ChurchGazette.
It may not perhaps be uninteresting, to many readers of the Evangelical ChurchGazette, to receive particular intelligence, from time to time, respecting the interior state of religion in other countries. To the true Christian it will ever be delightful, to learn the advance of the knowledge of that Saviour, whom he himself loves, and would gladly see loved and praised by all. More especially is it a great encouragement to those, who, through the grace of God, are labourers in the Lord's vineyard, when they hear that their fellow-labourers are prospering in their work in other parts of the earth. By such glad tidings, the Church is quickened to prayer, and specially to praise. The division of lands and nations, tongues and manners, churches and sects, vanishes in the comprehensive name of CHRISTIAN, which associates in a high and holy calling, whatever be their place on earth, the children of the same God, redeemed by the same Saviour, and animated by the same Holy Spirit. And inasmuch as the same Holy Spirit quickens all the members of this spiritual body, and unites them both to God and to each other, it cannot fail, but that they shall generally rejoice and mourn, as any single member suffers or is made glad. (1 Cor. xii. 26.)
The religious state of England presents, at this time, pleasing features. We will not now direct our attention to the great exertions, which are at present made in that country for the extension of the light of the Gospel through va