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“ None." Yet afterwards it comes out, that, on a certain occasion, our friend himself preached in this very city: that the minister who gave him his pulpit was highly offended with the truths proclaimed by him į but that the people rejoiced, and cordially expressed their joy, at what they had heard. The explanation was, that there were no ministers there who believed the truth; but that as for the people, there certainly might be some, who knew and loved it.
--And who can say how many There once were seven thousand, where a prophet knew not of one,
“ But much of what passes for religion on the Continent is, after all, mere Arminianism; and what good can we expect from that?” Now here the question is, What sort of Arminianism? Systematic Arminianism is, according to our view, systematic error; and we give it up. What it means, we never yet were able to discover-but this we may add, that we never yet saw any good from it. With much apparent mildness, it is often immoderately bitter against the truth. That is, it often manifests more enmity against the holders of those parts of Divine truth which it avowedly rejects, than against the holders of all error and falsehood together. It is quiet, but exclusive; it is bland, but persecuting. In describing the tenets of those whom it condemns, it often uses the term Calvinist,” with a peculiar kindness of accent-"a little too Calvinistic; " " thing of a Calvinist”-but it uses it, by a tacit compact, as a term of resolute exclusion, as a ban and an interdict, as a watchword that announces an enemy without calling him one.
We once heard of an instance, of an individual who kept out a brother clergyman from obtaining a curacy for years, by the very gentlest use of this word “ Calvinist.” As often as he was referred to, he
gave his friend the highest possible character, for zeal, piety, &c. but always took care to add, with a smile of kind regret, ** To be sure he is rather too much of a Calvinist.”-It sufficed. -Abroad, Arminianism has been concerned, of late, in persecutions bearing a less dubious character. Add to this, that from some measure of doctrinal accordance with Tridentine Popery, its Protestantism is by no means of a decided kind. It takes a mitigated view of Popish error, and indeed of error of every form : and in the jumblings of party has sometimes come out politically associated with Romanism, in opposition to pure Christianity. To this class we shall find many of those religious professors belonging who are the friends of compromise, and the advocates of false peace : and those individuals of the religious world, who are the favourers of the Roman Catholics at the present time amongst ourselves, seem, for the most part;
never to have risen much higher than Arminianisní, or to be rapidly relapsing into it, or into something worse.
Add to this, that systematic Arminianism is frequently taken up as a false position: that is, when a person, with feelings of hostility towards the orthodox faith, is abandoning with the intention of attacking it, not liking, in the first instance, to go further, he generally begins, in order to have a point from which the attack may be made, by taking up his position in Arminianism.
But of some who profess Arminianism, we entertain a better hope. Their minds perhaps are confused : they dread a higher form of doctrine from not fully seeing their way in it, or from having been prejudiced against it: but they are under grace; they have not that fatal bitterness and rancour against the truth which distinguishes the others; and in due time we may expect to see them renouncing the views which they now profess. Or, if they never get out of them, as a system, their experience is higher, and they are saved at last by the power of doctrines, exerted in their hearts, which their understandings have not clearly received. Such is all-sufficient, effectual, almighty, sovereign grace !--Now these reflections we apply to the case of some Continental Christians. In ascertaining a man's religious prospects, we must not only ask where he is, but which way he is going. We may find him at a point under the mark; but the question is, Has he descended or has he risen to it? Where there is the least seed of the Divine life, though it appear at first but as the spark smothering in the flax, as the little leaven, as the grain of mustard seed, as the broken reed, there the province of hope begins, there we may always hail the favourable token, there we may always expect a better state hereafter. Where we discover Continental Christians thus beginning well, we should not discourage them, we should not denounce them to British Christians as dissemblers; we should strive to put them in heart: and in all general descriptions of Continental infidelity and lukewarmness, we should make a distinct exception in their favour.-We will say the same with respect to publications. We see no reason for retracting our opinion, that the Kirchen-Zeitung (not the Allgemeine, but the Evangelishche Kirchen-Zeitung) is steadily going on in the cause of truth : we do not despair of the Barmen Missions-Blatt because of that sentiment in it from which we have dissented : and we hope soon to lay before our readers, if we live, and the Lord permit, another German periodical, in which the truth is advocated with considerable courage and faithfulness. Whatever favourable indications besides the press of Germany may produce, we have
already made some arrangements by which we hope to become acquainted with them, for our readers' benefit.
Yet after all we grant, that our encouraging views as to the present state of the Continent, are in many respects limited ones: and, while we have given a general glance, rather than entered into particulars, we feel that the best account we can offer must be far different from the promising statements of others. If we would distinguisha those professors of the Continent who are sincere, perhaps the following token may assist
It is no very good sign, where there is a confident assertion of a very great and general improvement. This, we fear, is too often made from a false patriotism, a false zeal for the national church, false views, or a desire to make a false impression. When, in particular, any universal or very extensive improvement is alleged to have taken place in Germany, there is reason to suspect some confounding of things different. Taste and literature are supposed to have advanced greatly of late in Germany; and this advance seems to be confounded, by some, with an advance in religion. Germany, like England, has been deluded of late with a supposed march of intellect; which march after all, if it be any thing more than a retrograde movement, has proved at best to be only the “ right-left-right-left” of an awkward squad, when they move first one foot then the other, without advancing a step: and where professors from the Continent mistake this for a religious improvement, we must consider it a bad sign.—Moreover, if the malignity of some infidel writers abroad be in a measure mitigated, the learned author of the “ Second Inquiry, respecting the prophetic Period of Daniel and St. John," has called our attention to a quotation, at page 133 of his work, from a Commentary on the Apocalypse by Professor Ewald of Gottingen, which too clearly shews that the spirit of infidelity remains much the same.
And as to what we hear of “ some professors” who are not infidels in German universities, what is this but a way of telling us that
While, with respect to the good hope concerning pious Roman Catholics, we have already pointed out, in a previous article, with what caution and limitation this is to be entertained; and the exception, we fear, constitutes but a very small portion, when compared with the mass. On the whole, then,we wish to speak upon the subject of Continental religion with thankfulness, but yet with caution. There is abundant cause for thankfulness, wherever we discover the slightest indi, cations of that grace, which even in its faintest appearances is the sovereign gift of God. But there is every cause for caution
many are ?
in a matter of judgment, where there are so many deceivers, and where some have been already deceived.
Having said thus much respecting the state of religion on the Continent, we have now a few remarks to add respecting the discussions upon this subject at home. There can be no ground for asking what business we in England have to discuss these matters. The subject is always an interesting one; and plenty of reasons might easily be given why British Christians are entitled, and indeed in duty bound, to ascertain the true state of things as to religion in the countries in question.
We must observe, then, that we have long entertained the opinion, as our readers may have collected, that there has been far too great a disposition, in the religious world at home, to keep every thing quiet—to make out that all is right-to suppress inquiry and discussion-to discourage and stifle the
open expression of opinion-to do things in an underhand way-and to regard investigation as hostility. We impeach no man's motives :- we are willing to believe that much may have arisen from the peculiar circumstances in which the religious world has been placed ;. much from a desire to preserve peace. But so it has been. We say, that this system has been carried too far. It has occasionally led to concession, conformity, and compromise. Peace was to be had at any price. Peace, with a good conscience, if possible; at any rate, peace. Hence the opposition to all inquiry, and dread of the exposure of any thing wrong. Peace being thus made the first thing, offences lost their relative situations, and the moral scale became disordered. For example, if a person was deemed hasty or injudicious, this came to be regarded a worse offence than if he was heterodox. A man may go a great way towards error in the religious world; and, if he is regarded as judicious, as learned, as cautious, he will be tolerated, and even courted. But let a man go but a little way in nonconformity, in decision, in upright independence of character, and he is marked. These and similar circumstances have affected our religious intercourse with the Continent. We meet with a person who is not quite sound in his views; but he appears to be an orderly and tractable character, and we become connected with him. So far, no great harm seems to have been done. But, behold, there enters another circumstance, and the true nature of the connexion comes to light. In the neighbourhood of this our well-disposed but not quite orthodox friend, it so happens that there are other professors, whose orthodoxy is far more decided. To these our friend is opposed : he prejudices us, and we also become their opponents, Nor is this all. Our friend, so mild in his carriage before us, happens nevertheless to be a cruel, relentless PERSECUTOR, as well as opponent, of his orthodox neighbour, Thus we become associated with persecutors, perhaps partakers of their evil deeds.
Hence exposures ; and some of these in a very rough style, But we, that are all for quiet and the suppression of inquiry, must not blame this. What else can we expect? Zeal, eagerness, and some want of temper and moderation on the other side, are the natural results.
But natural causes and effects, we apprehend, are not the only ones here concerned, We trace in this matter the finger of the Lord. When standards are beginning to droop, when their bearers are beginning to faint, when those who fought in the first ranks are beginning to shift their position, or, in other words, to run away, it may please Him, who is no other than the Captain over the hosts of the Lord, even the Lord mighty in battle, to raise up, and to bring forward, a stern and rugged band, a race whose countenances we know not, and whose language we cannot understand; and to them to commit the rally, the rush, and the struggle, that are to restore the field. This, we think, is what he is now doing. The appearance of such characters rather alarmed us at first, but our alarm is giving way to other feelings.-We still regard the “religious world as in the main the church of Christ in this land : in noticing its faults, we wish to make no exception in our own favour : and in the spirit and conduct of many who attack it, we see much that is bad or questionable. But to these conclusions we more and more incline: that within the religious world, the Lord is now raising up a race of reformers--we hope they will attempt to reform, before they attempt to subvert :-that in some main points they are right :-that the straightforward course is the course which is now wanted :-and that the compromising, pacific scheme has been pushed to the utmost, and is doomed to see its end. The religious public are weary of it. It has been tried in the balance and found wanting.
THOUGHTS ON VARIOUS SUBJECTS,
BY A CLERGYMAN.
(Continued from page 210.) LVI. When we preach some of the leading doctrines of St. Paul (if there be any of us who do preach them), such as predestination, election, and adoption, there are persons who attempt to silence us by the aid of St. Peter : telling us that we