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however, the more willingly cite the passage for the sake of the concluding remarks, in order that he may do us the justice to believe, that, though our words were strong, our hearts were not unkind. Referring to one of his then recent publications we said:
"Mr. M'Neile tells his countrymen, that he, like Jeremiah of old, has a special commission to them from God, and that it is a national sin that they refuse to hear his words. He even puts forth a declamation of his own, mixed up with the word of God, heading it, in italics, with Thus saith the Lord God of England;' and concluding it with Hear, ye men of Britain: be not proud, for the Lord hath spoken.' So that all who doubt the justice of Mr. McNeile's application and paraphrase of the inspired denunciations, are scoffers and infidels. The man who dares to speak the word of the Lord among you,' says Mr. McNeile, adverting to himself, receives no fair play.' No, you will not hear: but you shall hear, and God will make both your ears to tingle.' And again: Well, I will not threaten; I will not triumph over your deplorable infatuation; I will not forget who hath made me to differ,' &c.&c. And again: 'Then said I, Ah! Lord God, behold, the teachers of this people lead them astray....Is it not so, my fellowcountrymen? Your natural teachers have deceived you. Many of them are utterly careless, &c. &c.... These men have neglected you; you have no confidence in them; and when any of them attempt to influence you, they fail. But the teachers who have led you astray are men of a different stamp, men of activity, of zeal, of much profession, men who have talked about Christian experience, humility, piety, and brotherly love,' &c.: or, as they are described to the same effect in one of the passages we objected to in the Dialogues on Prophecy, the men who cant about Bibles, and tracts, and missions,' the Evangelicals, through whom, the English being a phleg
CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 351.
matic people, the devil has introduced infidelity under the mask of religious sanctimoniousness!' We will give but one passage more, leaving our readers to make their own comments on it. Mr. McNeile says: 'I am become an enemy to my people because I tell you the truth: yet, Holy Father, let me pray for them in secret with fervent affection; and warn them in public with persevering faithfulness, if yet Thy uplifted hand may be stayed in longer forbearance. But if not...O my God, at the last, when the word shall pass Thy lips in righteousness, sustain my trembling flesh, and give me strength above nature to rejoice in thy holy vengeance!' And we are to receive, upon pain of the charge of being 'infidels,' this strange declamation, because the writer professes to be an elucidator of unfulfilled prophecy! We write in sorrow, not in bitterness; for who that has witnessed Mr. McNeile's talents and eloquence, or been edified by his zeal and piety, but must lament that such endowments are deformed by the extravagancies which it has been our painful task to notice?"
Having quoted this passage, we shall only add, that, as our correspondent tells us expressly that he did not mean to represent himself as sent of God with a special denunciation against the people of England, we will not aggravate our offence by saying more than that if he had so meant, we see not how he could have used stronger language, or have more confidently exclaimed, "Thus saith the Lord."It is, however,far more consoling to us to learn that we unconsciously exaggerated the meaning of our Christian brother, than that he was guilty of that "preposterous arrogancy" which he so justly reprobates. It is enough for us to know
that a writer construes his own words in a modified manner; it is not for us to put a different interpretation upon them. It will not, however, be alien to the point to add, that it might be well for our correspondent in future to prevent the possibility of
his meaning being mistaken, by couching it in a more guarded style. We would also respectfully recommend to himself, and to other "students of prophecy" in the present day, the following observations of the learned Ernesti, in his "Narratio Critica de Interpretatione Prophetiarum Messianarum in Ecclesia Christiana." Though the particular controversy to which they allude is not precisely the same as some which have been lately much discussed, they inculcate a lesson at all times equally important, and equally liable to be overlooked. "Omnino oportet in hoc genere NON ACERBUM ESSE. Vides tu, O bone, Christum in V. T. ubi alius aut omnino non, aut non ita clare videt, ut tu vel vides, vel videre te putas. Vide eum tibi, et gratias age Deo. Sed fac, ut eum in cor, cum ejus mansuetudine et lenitate, recipias, ne frustra videris. Ille vero alter eum alibi pariter videt, si non ubique in V. T. satis clare, ut dubitet, hæreat, per umbram modo, at in N. T. videt in clara luce refulgentem, et pro ejus claritatis beneficio gratias agit Deo. (Opuscula Theologica, edit. ii. p. 477.) We do not go to the extent of Ernesti's "Vide eum tibi:" far from it; for if the recent discoveries respecting the prophecies, the person of our Lord, miracles, or other points, be indeed, Scripture truth, they ought not to be withheld from the community of the faithful; rather ought they to be promulgated with a zeal corresponding to their importance: but the spirit of the passage deserves serious consideration; and particularly the exhortation to receive Christ in the meekness of Christ, and the excellent advice" in hoc genere non acerbum esse."
4. Our correspondent's next paragraph gives us real pain, because it appears that we have given him pain, and where we had not the slightest intention of doing so. He will see, by reference to the Christian-Observer pamphlet of the "Documents and Correspondence," that the quotation from his reported sermon was at
page 4, and the passage, "What Christian can close the above discussion, &c." at page 77, seventythree pages after, and with no reference whatever to that sermon. In quoting that passage in our January Number, we have prefaced it, as Mr. McNeile justly states, with the reported quotation from his sermon: they are thus brought into juxta-position; and he thinks we meant to imply that he preferred miraculous gifts to Christian graces. But if he will believe us on our sincere decla. ration, we assure him that we meant nothing of the kind, we believed nothing of the kind, and we wished to insinuate nothing of the kind. has quoted sufficient from his sermon to shew that we could not believe it; and we trust he will do us the justice to be convinced that we did. not mean to assert what we could not believe. If he will refer to the passage, he will see that it was our wish to take leave of the discussion" with a few practical remarks, in which we believed all Christians would agree; and the tenor of the paragraph was intended to be to the effect, that whatever controversythere may be as to the question of miraculous gifts, there can be none as to the question of graces; and that if we could not concur with our friends in the former, they would doubtless agree with us in the latter. It never occurred to us that our words could be so construed as to imply just the contrary to what we meant; and our correspondent would see that they could not be intended to bear the meaning he assigns to them, if he would read only the next two or three lines to those which he has quoted; for thus runs the passage: "Were it not, then, wise to turn from such questionable gifts, to the solid practical realities of vital, saving, sanctifying truth? Oh, who would covet even a faith that could remove mountains, rather than charity, without which it profiteth nothing. Let, then, those who have attained to the more excellent way, as we are persuaded have those friends on whose
Reply to Mr. McNeile's Letter.
opinion in the present matter we have freely commented, be content with the higher manifestation, and not go back to doubtful speculations, or the assertion of miraculous gifts, which, even if vouchsafed, would have no necessary connexion with spiritual edification or eternal salvation." Could we express more strongly our belief that our friends had attained to "the more excellent way," "the Could we higher manifestation ? mean to represent them as trusting in miracles, or making more of gifts We only regret than of graces? that our words should have been capable of such a possible construction, as nothing was in reality further from our mind.
So far, indeed, from wishing to misrepresent Mr. McNeile's sentiments on this point, we should have been truly rejoiced, had we happened to have thought of it, to have availed ourselves of his remarks, in order to shew, that, by the declarations of our friends themselves, miraculous gifts are as nothing compared with charity; though, after all, it would have been quite superfluous to quote any human testimony to this point, as St. Paul has so clearly determined the matter. Our correspondent will, we are sure, perceive, that, however wicked he may think was our design, we could not, even for our own sake, have urged a charge so preposterously absurd as that our Christian brethren, men whom we described as having attained the way, the higher mamore excellent nifestation, were asserting that to speak with the tongues of men or angels was better than charity. We took it for granted that they were at least with us here, and it never occurred to us to be necessary to look into their sermons for proof of so obvious a fact. We can only repeat our regret that our words could for one moment appear to our correspondent to contain such an allegation as that on which he animadverts.
5. And now one word on the last charge, that we have alluded to a publication of his sermon which he
had not sanctioned. Now in all ho-
why he should be displeased at its being referred to as containing his sentiments. The opinion advocated in it he believes to be Scriptural; and if so, he has no reason to be ashamed of this discourse, which defends it temperately, eloquently, and with serious adduction of the Divine Word.
It was, we well remember, in that sermon that Mr. McNeile brought forward the alleged miraculous case of the five hundred persons who spoke and gave honour to Christ after their tongues had been cut out by the Arians. The story has since been taken up by H. S. C. H. and Mr. Boys, and much weight seems to be attached to it, especially as Milner, in his History of the Church, inclines to the idea of its being miraculous. For ourselves, we are far from being clear as to the truth of the facts; but even were they admitted, there are cases quite as remarkable upon record, where no miracle is pretended. We copy the following illustration from the "Sketches of Persia," known to be written by Sir John Malcolm, though without his name, and giving an account of that distinguished officer's first embassy to Persia.
"Zal Khan of Khist. "This remarkable man has established a great name in his native mountains, betwixt Abusheher and Shiraz; and he was long distinguished as one of the bravest and most attached followers of the Zend family. When the death of Lootf Ali Khan terminated its power, he, along with the other governor of provinces and districts in Fars, submitted to Aga Mahomed Khan. That cautious and cruel monarch, dreading the ability and doubtful of the allegiance of this chief, ordered his eyes to be put out. An appeal for the recal of the sentence being treated with disdain, Zal Khan loaded the tyrant with curses. 'Cut out his tongue,' was the second order. This mandate was imperfectly executed, and the loss of half this member deprived him of
speech. Being afterwards persuaded that its being cut close to the root would enable him to speak so as to be understood, he submitted to the operation; and the effect has been, that his voice, although indistinct and thick, is yet intelligible to persons accustomed to converse with him. This I experienced from daily intercourse. He often spoke to me of his sufferings, and of the humanity of the present king, who had restored him to his situation as head of his tribe and governor of Khist. I am not an anatomist, and cannot therefore give a reason why a man, who could not articulate with half a tongue, should speak when he had none at all; but the facts are as stated, and I had them from the very best authority, old Zal Khan himself."-(Sketches of Persia, by a Traveller in the East, vol. ii. pp. 115, 116.)
Such is Sir J. Malcolm's statement, published long before the present question was afloat. Yet, with such stories on record, Mr. Boys gravely accuses the Christian Observer of Neological tendencies for not believing the alleged miracle of the five hundred persons in the sixth century. He says, that we have " explained away a miracle records believing), exactly [Mr. of the early church (which Milner Boys's own italics] in the Neologians explain away the miracles way that of the Bible.' Now we give him his choice of difficulties. Does he believe the above story of Zâl Khan? He cannot say that the evidence for its truth is not, at the least, as strong-we must say, far strongerthan that for the above legend of the sixth century. Does he, then, acknowledge it a miracle? If he does, then the Divine miraculous power is as much displayed for the Persian Mohammedan, as for the five hundred Christian confessors. Or does he doubt that it was a miracle, and admit, that, if the fact be truly stated, sical causes? Then he falls into it may be accounted for by phythe very heresies of the Christian
Observer: he virtually opposes the reasoning of Milner; and, to use his own words, "explains away the miracle exactly after the manner of the Neologians." The story of Zâl Khan is another proof, if another were needed, of the truth of our first and last position, that the only safe line, the only way to prevent the recoil of infidelity against the Sacred Narrative itself, is to vouch for no miracle since the age of the Apostles. Miracles there may have been; but they are not articles of belief; nor, with deference to Mr. Boys, are we Neologians, should we not credit them, any more than we are Neologians, because we donot believe in Joanna Southcote. Had Milner lived to read the case of Zal Khan, we believe, that, with his judicious mind, he would not have adhered to his opinion of the miracle of the sixth century; and we wish we could say that we indulged equal hopes of the present avouchers. Mr. Boys may please to ridicule science, and call it idiotic ; but we are quite sure, that had there been a little more of true science, or even of extended reading, and knowledge of the actual facts bearing upon the cases in question, we should not have heard of so many miracles.
But these things are not new; they have been in every age: they have their cycles; their periodical risings, fallings, and decays. While we write, our eye glances on the four volumes of Dr. Dwight's Travels, where, as we remember, occurs a monitory exemplification, in the history of the American "Shakers," of the worse than extravagancies which accompanied the pretence to those very prodigies which are now put forth in Scotland. The history is not only too long for our pages, but is a record of grossly vicious excesses and impurities with which we should not dare to stain them. But it is a fearful illustration of the results of fanaticism-and a fanaticism, be it observed, interwoven with those very notions which are recur
ring in their cycle of variation at the present moment. There were some of the same extravagant interpretations of prophecy, the alleged personal reign of Christ upon earth, the alleged revival or non-cessation of the gift of tongues and working of miracles and healing the sick in the name of Jesus; yet, connected with all this, there was such horrible licentiousness as may not be named among Christians. We will quote, though not the whole narrative, yet a few passages, in which not a little that Dr. Dwight describes of the extravagancies at New Lebanon in America might serve for a picture of certain recent scenes at Port-Glasgow in Scotland. We confine ourselves to the head of fanaticism; in justice excluding other matters, which do not apply to the modern instance; and we state this explicitly, that we may not seem, even by inadvertence, to insinuate a false accusation. On the contrary, we have not a shadow of reason to suppose otherwise than that the Port-Glasgow claimants to the gift of tongues and working of miracles are persons of honest and exemplary life, but whose imaginations have been heated by the new theories, which have turned aside some stronger minds. We may add also, that, were their life ever so bad, which we have no reason whatever to imagine, the abstract question would not thereby be affected; for, as Mr. McNeile most scripturally observes, miraculous gifts have never had any necessary connexion with piety or moral conduct. But still the history of the Shakers, and other extravagant sects, is monitory, because it shews, that, when once men give the rein to flights of fancy in religion, it is impossible to say, espe cially among uneducated and enthusiastic minds, where the mischief may end; and, in point of historical fact, the pretence of working miracles, both in the Protestant and the Papal church, has invariably, sooner or later, been accompanied by excesses which were little contemplated by those who originated the