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by leading us to watch with intenser anxiety for some favourable change in our mortal state, instead of employing our thoughts in the preparation for eternity. How much impatience, and repining also, would such interposition naturally produce, when we came to reflect, that it is vouchsafed only to a few among the faithful servants of God, and that the rest are left to plod their way in "weariness and painfulness," alleviated only by the hope of a distant reward after they are delivered from the burden of the flesh.
would hardly "be persuaded though one rose from the dead." That it is so left, appears from the fact that no miracles are ever wrought, where they would seem to be most needed, for the conversion of barbarous nations, incapable of understanding the force of moral demonstration. Now, if they are unnecessary for this purpose, (and that they are so may clearly be argued from their not being vouchsafed,) they are a fortiori unnecessary among ourselves, who already have within our reach all that is requisite to make us wise untosalvation. And ifunnecessary, then improbable, nay incredible; since Infinite Wisdom does nothing in vain.
Perhaps, however, it may be asked, whether, although miracles in general are not now performed for the support or propagation of a system, a miraculous cure may not occasionally be permitted as a reward of faith, an especial mark of Divine favour, and in answer to "the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man?" It behoves us to speak with deep humility of what God may or may not do or permit: but to me such a proceeding seems scarcely reconcileable to the tenor of our present dispensation. We are not taught to look for the supernatural removal of our bodily ills, but to bear them with patience; to suffer with Christ, that we may be glorified with him; to rejoice in the chastening of the Lord, because it is a proof of his love; to bear our thorn in the flesh because his grace is sufficient for us, and his strength made perfect in our weakness. Our fleshly infirmities are thus sanctified, and, as it were, made a part of our religion. Their best end would be frustrated if a miraculous cure were placed within the limits of our expectation. They would no longer tend to wean us from the world, and direct our aspirations to Heaven. On the contrary, they would chain us down more closely
Before I conclude, I must trespass upon your indulgence by another exception to your reasoning. The parallel between a (supposed) miraculous cure, and the polarity of the magnet, is not a correct one. The former is an apparent violation of the known laws of nature: the latter is confessedly in accordance with them. In the latter, though the rationale be unknown, the phenomenon itself is invariable. In the former, though the rationale may be equally unknown, the phenomenon is unique, or of rare occurrence. Consequently, in the one case "there is no reason to suppose that there has been any supernatural disturbance of the relations which God has been pleased to establish:" but in the other, I submit, there may be reason to suppose so, until the contrary can be rendered probable by suitable considerations*. H. W.
We leave our correspondent's remarks to the consideration of our readers. For ourselves we have no wish to establish think the negative at least the more safe. any hypothesis on either side; but we Our correspondent considers that there might be good reasons for post-apostolic miracles: but the question is one of fact, and not of hypothesis; and which of the alleged miracles not recorded in the word of God would our correspondent bring forward as having that "sufficient proof' which we required in order to place it say that a miracle is possible is nothing, side by side with those in Scripture? To for no Christian denies it; to say it is probable is not to the purpose, for a mi
ON THE IMPECCABILITY OF
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
SOME apology may be necessary for touching on a subject which has already been so much under public consideration as the doctrine termed-I write the words with pain" the peccability of Christ;" but, in looking at many texts bearing on the point, I have thrown together the following thoughts, which I offer as supplementary to what has been said in other quarters on the subject.
In taking a general view, I should say that the tenor of Scripture was decidedly against the doctrine. The services of the tabernacle and temple, which are allowed to have been typical of Christ's priesthood and sacrifice, are, in whole and in part, described as perfect in holiness.
racle cannot be antecedently probable; its being a miracle is utterly opposed to its having been something probable. The real question is, Is it proved; so proved that you would stake Christianity itself upon its truth? If it be not thus proved, it is not even probable; it is utterly improbable. The very essence of a miracle is, that something is irrefragably proved to have taken place which, if not thus proved, would not have been credible; and such are the miracles in Scripture.
The illustration of the magnet is not of much importance, but we still believe we were right. We said, that even if we could not account for the case of Miss Fancourt, this would not prove it miraculous; any more than the magnet pointing to the north is miraculous, because we do not know why it does so. H. W. replies, that the alleged miraculous healing is an apparent violation of the known laws of nature;" whereas the magnetic pointing to the north is "an invariable phenomenon." But the medical profession agree that the former is not an apparent violation of known laws, but in conformity with them; and there are circumstances under which the magnet does not point towards the north; so that a person who did not know the reason might fancy the case miraculous, just as, for want of knowing the reason of Miss F.'s case, some have accounted that miraculous. But both inferences would be founded in ignorance, and not in truth.
CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 349.
Not only the signet on the forehead of the high priest was to be inscribed" Holiness to the Lord" (Exod. xxviii. 36), but the oil for burning in the lamps was to be pure (Exod. xxvii. 20); the sacrifice was to be perfect, and without blemish (Lev. i. 3); the animals for that purpose were not to be amongst the unclean (Lev. ix.); the priests were to eat in a clean and holy place (Lev. x. 13, 14); the altar was to be most holy (Exod. xxix. 37), and overlaid with pure gold (Exod. 24. 11): nay, the very ornaments of the priest's dress indicated sterling purity, being bells of gold (Exod. xxviii. 33); and the inward parts even of the offerings were to be washed (Lev.ix. 14): all typical, surely, of that stainless, entire, and complete purity, holiness, and perfection, which the great Antitype must fulfil; but which, if sin has any part, any dwelling (so to speak), in Christ's nature, it would appear he did not fulfil: for then the consummation would not be tantamount to the preparation; the end of all things would not be equal to the approach; the nice fitness of signs would not be evidenced and accomplished in the thing signified. But if, on the contrary, these attributes do all meet and centre in the Redeemer, how lovely, how harmonious, how nicely fitted, the types to the Antitype; or rather, how far more glorious in holiness is the one, than all our present ideas of the others can leave us to conceive! One of our enjoyments' in the eternal state-when we shall see, not as now through a glass, darkly, but know even as we are known-will consist, I doubt not, in unfolding the mysteries of God's dispensations; and amongst them, the complete and beautiful unity of the symbols, sacrifices, and services in the Mosaic covenant, as pointing to and fulfilled by the Mediator of the new covenant.
To take a more particular view, I think the following texts parti
cularly and decidedly against the doctrine: Psa. xvi. 10; Luke i. 35; Luke xxii. 22; John xiv. 20; Acts iii. 14; 2 Cor. v. 21; Heb. iv. 15; 1 Pet. ii. 22; 1 John iii. 5. These, especially : "The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me (John xiv. 30); and, "Ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins, and in him is no sin" (1 John iii. 5). The property and dominion of the prince of this world is sin; but Christ says, "the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me;" which indeed was proved, when he was tempted (like as we are) by Satan, yet, being " without sin," remained unmoved, uninfluenced (Matt. iv.; Heb. iv. 15). "He was manifested to take away our sin, and in him is no sin."
It also strikes me, that, a perfect atonement being required by the Almighty for a broken law, that could not be offered by an Atoner in whom there was any sin*; and we know "there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin.'" Your
VERY CONSTANT READER.
*We are not sure that our correspondent has touched the exact point at issue. Mr. Irving, for instance, would agree with him in his statements, and deny as strongly as he that "there was any sin" in Christ. We only mention this lest it should be said that we have given currency to a misstatement of the doctrines animadverted upon. Mr. Irving so envelops his sentiments in paradox, that it is not always easy to discover his meaning; but in refuting one heresy, that the nature of Christ was peccable, we ought not to impute another, not held by the parties, that it was peccant. See the Declaration of the National Scotch Church, Regent Square, on the 2d page of our Cover. -Ed.
ON COUNTERACTING NOXIOUS
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. PERMIT me to recommend to your clerical and other readers the importance of making known more widely the value of the chloride of lime, especially among the poor, for counteracting infectious disorders and putrescent effluvia.
The manner in which the last offices for the dead are performed is often dangerous to the health of society; little or no difference being made whether death ensue from diseases of amalignant nature, or the body be slowly or rapidly decomposed. Custom has established a certain period for it to be kept, and, unless from absolute necessity, this must be observed, at all hazards. The poor are perhaps more punctilious on this point than the rich, although their families must live in the same room in which the body is depo
sited, and they cannot afford a leaden coffin. The clergyman, undertakers, mourners, and other attendants at the funeral, are unsuspectingly exposed to the noxious exhalations; and the relatives of the deceased are more peculiarly liable to be effected, from depression of spirits and debility arising from long-continued attendance on the bed of sickness. The evil does not terminate when the body is committed to the ground; for the grave is often not sufficiently deep to prevent the escape of the exhalations; or may be situated so near to another recently made, that earth may be disturbed which is saturated with them. This is no imaginary evil; for, on the late removal of the earth from the churchyard of a parish in the heart of London, the men could not proceed till the chloride of lime was used. Neither is inclosure in lead always a security; for an instance occurred, on opening a family vault
beneath a country church, where the clergymen and friends were obliged to retire till the chloride of lime had been used. A nail, it was found, had penetrated the lead of the last coffin which had been deposited. In tropical climates necessity compels interment within twelve or twenty-four hours; but even this delay is frequently found too long, and many infectious diseases are disseminated from the neglect of proper precautions in burying. Happily this country has long been free from destructive epidemics; yet circumstances may arise to bring them into extensive action, especially as the burying grounds in many of our cities and principal towns are too limited, and improperly situated.
Under these circumstances, it is right to adopt every precaution in our power and to prevent the above-mentioned evils, nothing more is necessary than to wash the body with the diluted solution of the chloride of lime, and to deposit three or four pounds of it in powder in the coffin. With so simple and cheap a remedy at hand, it would be inexcusable to run the least risk of danger, in any case in which it is applicable. The value of the above-mentioned preparation in noxious manufactures, in anatomical pursuits, and in sick rooms, is generally known among well-informed persons, but I am anxious that the clergy in particular should introduce it, as occasion may require, into the abodes of the poor, where it is most needed. P.
THE ANTI-SLAVERY QUESTION.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
PARDON me, Mr. Observer, if I confess that I am one of those who some two or three years since said, in my ignorance, "I am tired of reading of Anti-Slavery matters; the Christian Observer wearies
one with them it is quite right to ameliorate slavery, but there are other matters also to be attended to, and I wish we had a respite from this." But you were right, Mr. Editor: you have wearied me, for one, to good purpose: by dint of reiterated statement and appeal, you at last penetrated my obtuse understanding, or harder heart; and I thank you that you did not relax, and I trust you will not relax, in urging the subject, till, by the blessing of God, all your readers feel deeply its importance, and till the evil is banished from the earth. I know of no cause in which it is more difficult to overcome the objections and prejudices of a large class of persons, who on other subjects are intelligent and rightly disposed; but I know of no cause which, when once its importance is understood and felt, clings more closely around the heart. Yes, there are other important subjects, a thousand other such subjects, and I do not think you can be accused of neglecting them; but this is an instant, pressing question; not a question of merely conferring benefit, but of preventing positive injury; not only of effecting prospective good, but of redressing hourly serious evil. It would be a more pressing duty to extinguish a fire, or to rescue a man who was being murdered under our window, than to arrange a plan for the formation of a missionary society. And so of the Anti-slavery question: while we are debating, the evil is instant, and in progress; the souls and bodies of our fellow-creatures are both in peril. The question is manysided; a question of civil liberty, of religious instruction, of temporal and eternal well-being, of the suppression of vice, cruelty, and oppression; in short, view it as we may, it proffers its claims to our attention, and every hour that we neglect it we perpetuate evils of the most fearful character. Let not, then, your readers, and other
minds to the marvellous, and the consequent unwillingness to be undeceived by sober truth. The first verse of St. James's Epistle, in which that Apostle addresses "the twelve tribes scattered abroad," would, of itself, suffice to shew that the notion of ten of them being lost is a fable. Allowing, however, that it were a doubtful point of history, it would not be a matter of the importance which some persons make it, perhaps partly from connecting it with the speculation of the Jews going back to Jerusalem, their instrumentality for the conversion of the world, and their future superiority over the nations; against all which Baxter uttered his protest, as unscriptural notions. The fancy of some persons, that Mr. Wolfe may be appointed to discover "the lost Ten Tribes," is about as probable as his own notion, that he will meet Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the streets of Jerusalem in the year 1847.
I have spoken strongly, but I by no means intend any offence to some excellent persons who differ from me on these subjects. I will, however, venture to add, that, in these days of fanciful conceit, it is the duty of sober-minded Christians to bear their testimony against fond speculations; nor ought they to be deterred from this course by the apprehensions or rebukes of those who attach importance to them. Scripture truth is of too much importance to be sacrificed, because some good men have mixed up their own inferences with it till they mistake the one for the other.
I OBSERVE, by the passage quoted from Baxter, in your Appendix just published (p. 792), that this eminent divine did not consider that the Ten Tribes were ever entirely lost, but that part of them were known in the times of Christ and his Apostles; and that, consequently, their discovery and recovery, as expected by many persons, is a mere speculation, not encouraged by history or Scripture. I was not before aware that this was the opinion of Baxter, but it has long been my own, and in vain have I sought for proof of the popular notion on the subject. In your last volume (p. 557) I requested some of your correspondents to shew me sufficient reasons to prove that the tribes were ever wholly lost; but, this not having been attempted, I must presume that they were not able to do so. In truth, most calmly judging persons have, I presume, long considered the idea of the Ten Tribes being still concealed in some remote corner of the earth, as a popular error, utterly incredible in the present advanced state of geographical knowledge, and To the Editor of the Christian Observer. certainly not founded in any thing
HOOKER AN EXTEMPORE
recorded in Scripture ;-an error A CORRESPONDENT, in your Numupheld by the natural love of many ber for October, cites the challenge