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error are widely scattered in the soil of the church, and are likely to produce roots of bitterness: that half-uttered impressions, and unanalysed views, of sacred subjects, are more than ordinarily entertained, requiring to be, not magisterially denounced, but subjected to the test of a searching investigation : that while much is written about the Bible, the pages of the Book itself are, in a critical respect, comparatively unexplored—indeed, by some the holy volume is supposed, as it was in the sixth century, to be an exhausted mine; all the ore having been extracted, minted, and already put into circulation : that much of the denominational misunderstanding which keeps Christian bodies aloof from each other, is owing, partly, to the too ready adoption of erroneous interpretations of the word of God, received by tradition from their fathers, and which a critical or an inductive investigation alone could be expected to explode: and that amidst the vast accumulations of learning and science in every department, for which the day is distinguished, there is much that is lying at the door of the temple of truth, ready to be laid on the altar withinunplaced facts and truths, and unapplied analogies. Very cordially is it admitted that much good service is done, in many of these respects, by periodical publications already in existence. But it is done more incidentally and inadequately, than the service which is rendered to any other department of literature what

soever.

For these reasons, the Editors of the BIBLICAL REVIEW and CONGREGATIONAL MAGAZINE design that its pages shall be devoted chiefly to the Theology of the Bible, embracing the various branches of scientific and applied theology, properly so called; together with biblical criticism and interpretation, and ecclesiastical history. In subservience to the same design, they propose to treat of subjects belonging to civil history; philology; antiquities; the arts; natural, mental, and moral science; and to every branch of knowledge, by which theological truth—portus et sabbatum humanarum contemplationum omnium' ---can be illustrated.

In the prosecution of this purpose, they hope to be found the determined opponents of every system, whether called by the name of Catholic, or by any other, which puts the practice of outward observances, or a mere doctrinal orthodoxy, in the room of spiritual religion and individual responsibility; or which sets up a standard of human authority, in opposition to the right of private judgment, in matters of religion. As the church of Rome is not the only church whose infallibility they reject, they are prepared to aid every honest and scriptural endeavour to submit any question in theology to a new investigation. Their views of the fulness of Divine truth are too exalted to allow them to believe that the Christian church has already beheld it in all its relations and applications ; or that any Christian sect, or system, includes and exhibits that truth in all its scriptural integrity; and, therefore, they will encourage every pious attempt to look at old truth from new points of view, and to present it in the aspects adapted to the mind of the age. In this way, they will be in a condition to deal impartially with every new and doubtful form of opinion which may arise within the horizon of the church—not by employing anathemas, nor by uttering the incantations of names and parties -but by bringing it into the light of the Sun of righteousness ; and of thus 'contending earnestly,' if need be, 'for the faith once delivered to the saints,' in the only manner, and with the only weapon, which that faith allows.

They would emphatically add that, in the various particulars specified, constant and anxious respect will be had to the benefit of the students in our theological colleges, of the rising ministry, and of the religiously-educated and intelligent among the young of all classes. And, beyond this, it is hoped that, if the Bible, the Bible alone, be the religion of Protestants,' the BIBLICAL REVIEW and CONGREGATIONAL MAGAZINE will, by calling more direct and exclusive attention to the law and to the testimony,' and by developing more correct views of scriptural interpretation than too generally prevail at present, be honoured of God, as one of his instruments for bringing the different sections of Christians into harmony with each other, by placing the mind of the whole in harmony with his own revealed and infinite Mind.

Attention will be devoted chiefly to the following subjects, all or most of which it will be the aim of the Editors to embrace within the course of every few numbers.

1. THEOLOGY, IN ITS VARIOUS BRANCHES.
2. BIBLICAL CRITICISM AND INTERPRETATION.
3. ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY, ANCIENT AND MODERN.
4. SECULAR HISTORY IN ITS BIBLICAL CONNEXIONS.
5. BIBLICAL GEOGRAPHY AND CHRONOLOGY.

6. ARCHÆOLOGICAL ILLUSTRATIONS OF SCRIPTURE, INCLUDING THE MANNERS, Customs, OccuPATIONS, ARTS, AND INSTITUTIONS, OF THE NATIONS OF ANTIQUITY.

7. THE NATURAL HISTORY AND SCIENCE OF THE BIBLE. 8. PRACTICAL RELIGION AND SCRIPTURAL MEDITATIONS.

9. TRANSLATIONS FROM THE RELIGIOUS LITERATURE OF THE CONTINENT.

10. BIOGRAPHIES OF DISTINGUISHED CHRISTIANS AND THEO

LOGIANS.

11. A MONTHLY DIGEST OF DENOMINATIONAL AND OTHER RELIGIOUS INFORMATION. 12. THE ECCLESIASTICAL MOVEMENTS

OF EUROPE AND AMERICA.

13. THE STATE AND CLAIMS OF THE MISSIONARY ENTER

PRISE.

14. THE EDUCATIONAL INTERESTS OF OUR OWN AND OTHER DENOMINATIONS.

15. THE STATE OF RELIGIOUS LITERATURE. 16. REVIEWS OF IMPORTANT PUBLICATIONS.

17. EARLY NOTICES AND LISTS OF New Books, BOTH ENGLISH AND FOREIGN, IN WHICH EVERY WORK THAT DESERVES ATTENTION WILL BE INCLUDED.

I.

THE DIVINE PLAN.

1. An original tendency of the mind to seek after the ultimate end of all things. The universe exhibits a series of causes and effects, and of means and ends, of which man can intuitively perceive neither the beginning nor the end. But He who arranged the system, and placed us in the midst of it, has made it natural for us to inquire, and to persevere in our inquiries, till we have reached

or think we have reached the First and the Last. Whence, and whither, are the two points between which the human mind, like a pendulum, constantly oscillates. If it ascend the series of events, it is that it may arrive at length at the First Cause--the hand which holds the first link of the chain. Or, if it descend the succession of events, it is that it may arrive at last at a final result, which is complete in itself; and which, by explaining, terminating, and consummating, all that has preceded it, and leading to nothing beyond, affords to the mind satisfaction and repose.

2. A First Cause implies an ultimate end. That there is a First Cause, and that that First Cause is the God of the Bible, are here taken for granted. Numerous and unanswerable are the treatises which might be referred to, in illustration of this fundamental truth. And to volunteer an additional argument on the subject, when the nature of the discussion does not directly require it, is not honourable, nor even respectful, to humanity. Let it be allowed that something is due from our pity to the sceptic; but let it not be forgotten that something is due also to the claims of enlightened reason, and to the state and majesty of religion ;' and that to construct an argument for the being of God, is, in a sense, to insult both; for it discloses afresh that stain on humanity —that man has questioned the existence and perfections of his Maker. But, admitting this great first truth, the existence of an ultimate end in creation follows as a matter of course ; for it is impossible to conceive of Wisdom acting without a purpose.

3. The nature of the ultimate end. What, then, is the chief and ultimate purpose of God in the existence of the universe ? Does it relate to Himself alone; to his creatures alone; or to these two combined ? We believe that, while He supremely regards his own glory, He really regards the well-being of the created universe for its own sake ; that this well-being is regarded by God as an ultimate end-in the sense of being an object desirable on its own account; and that He delights in it as such ; but that the ultimate, chief, and all-comprehending end is his own glory.

It may

If there be any sense in which the Infinite Being can himself be the chief end of the creation, consistently with his perfection, it is obviously fit and reasonable that He should be so; that the Origin of all things should be the end of all things—the Infinite the end of the finite. Some, indeed, have contended that the happiness of the creature is the chief end of creation ; thus, in effect, representing the Creator as originating a system in which He himself should occupy only a secondary place. This is the true Ptolemean system of the spiritual universe, in which the Infinite becomes a mere appendage to the finite, and is made to exist chiefly for its sake. We would not for a moment imply that this view has always originated in that principle of self-importance which would constitute man an all-subordinating centre. be advocated from a regard to the Divine glory,—and thus involve its own contradiction. But, doubtless, generally speaking, it has proceeded upon, and been strengthened by, the erroneous supposition, that the happiness of the created universe, and the glory of God, are two separable, if not heterogeneous things. Whereas, not only are they not separable,—they are parallel, and, as far as compatible with their distinctness, they even coincide. In proportion as the one is advanced, the other is promoted also; and the highest objective glory of God is, all things considered, the greatest well-being of the created universe.

If, by the objective glory of God, be understood his sufficiency for certain acts or effects, then it seems infinitely desirable that these effects should be produced ; and, being produced, it seems equally desirable that they should be known; and being known, that they should be appreciated. Now, they cannot be duly appreciated, without not only involving an acknowledgment of the infinite excellence and worthiness of the Being who produced them, but also enhancing the happiness of him who appreciates them; for the appreciation both supposes his sympathy with that excellence, and tends to increase that excellence in him.

It with peculiar felicity that Edwards, in his masterly treatise on 'God's chief end in Creation,'* imagines some perfect being called in to decide on the comparative claims of God on the one hand, and of all created beings on the other, to be the ultimate end of the whole; showing that, as the whole system of created being proceeded from God, is dependent on God, and is as nothing in comparison with God, that imaginary arbiter must necessarily decide that the universality of things in their whole compass and series, should look to him with a respect which should reign over all respect to other things;' and demonstrating that, in this decision, the judgment of the All-perfect Being him

* Chap. i. $ 1.

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