« AnteriorContinuar »
fourth question is “according to the usc of language”—and, finally, to tell what you mean by your laconic reply to the fifth and last question.
FOR THE HOPKINSIAN MAGAZISE. A FURTHER DIFFICULTY PROPOSED. .* Mr. Editor-Allow me to express to you my thanks for the kind attention you were pleased to bestow on the “ Difficulty proposed” by me, in your number for January, and for the advance made in your remarks towards a solution of it. Doubtless it must be solred in one of the four ways you have mentioned. But with yourself, and me, and your readers generally, the first two of the methods proposed will be out of the question. We are restricted therefore to the third and fourth. I should agree with you in preferring the fourth, viz. “ that God wills and sincerely and ardently desires the repentance and salvation of every soul of man, simply considered; while, at the same time, he does not desire the repentance and salvation of the whole human race, all things considered;" were it not for a remaining difficulty, which I now take the liberty to propose, soliciting, as before, that either by yourself, or some of your wise and experienced correspondents, I may be assisted in solving it.
The difficulty still existing respects the sincerity of the Divine Being, in the offers and invitations of the gospel. Perhaps I can best state it in the form of an allegory. "Mentor is a wise and affectionate father, whose children are married and settled from him at the distance of several miles, but for whom he retains all the fondness of parental love. They are on a visit to his house, have tarried as long as they consistently can, and are preparing to return. Mentor is pained in prospect of their return, and ardently wishes, in itself considered, that they would tarry another day. Still, he is acquainted with their affairs at home, is satisfied that it is best for them to return immediately; and, on the whole, prefers and desires that they should. With these views, and in this state of mind, will it be right for Mentor to invite, entreat and urge bis children to tarry with him another day? Can he do it with propriety, or with full sincerity? And if his children hear him uttering such invitations and entreaties, will they not think him departing from his usual wisdom and firmness of character, and approaching the period of his dotage?
The application of the parable is obvious. “God sincerely and ardently desires the salvation of every soul of man, simply considered;" as Mentor desires the prolonged visit of his children. But God knows perfectly all the circumstances of the case; knows it is best on the whole that all mankind should not be saved; and in this view “ does not desire the repentance and salvation” of all. Can
he then, in these circumstances, with propriety or sincerity, offer salvation to all, and invite all to accept of it, and urge it upon all in the impressive language and manner of the gospel? “Look unto me, and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth.” “ Turn ye, turn ye, for why will ye die?”
In attempting to remove the difficulty now suggested, I need not ask yourself, or your correspondents, to be candid and perspicuousthis is to be expected, of course; but I will venture to ask that the considerations suggested be made as palpable as they well can be, that the force of them may be apprehended by minds not accustomed to abstract speculations.
CLERICUS. [Though Clericus has presented “a further difficulty" in a manner quite “ palpable;" yet we think it may be removed, without any very "abstract speculations,” by some of our “ wise and experienced correspondents.” We solicit their aid; as, at present, we have not time to attend to the subject.Edit.]
EFFECTS OF THE UNIVERSAL DOCTRINE.
- [From an unpublished Discourse.] “ It completely destroys the penalty of the divine law. If endo. less punishment is not true, sin is not an infinite evil. This opens the flood-gates, to every species of licentiousness, in principle and practice.
It lowers our views of the Saviour. He is not a Divine Person. We of necessity become Unitarians; as they are of necessity, Universalians. Sin is considered an error, or a calamity, rather than a crime. If it deserves any punishment, it is merely disciplinary; and that for a limited time, from which the subject shall be discharged, on the principle of justice.
If he suffers the penalty of the Divine law, there is no grace in his liberation-he derives no benefit from the Saviour. He is not saved by grace. How then can such sing, “ Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and honour, and glory, and blessing, for thou hast redeemed us out of every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, by thine own blood ?”
To disbelieve endless punishment, destroys the solemnity of oaths and obligations. What is there, aside from the idea of endless punishment, to make a man conscientiously, and truly feel, the scriptural solemnity, and obligation of an oath? Hence arises the depravity of the morals of society, and danger to every portion of the community, and the removal of all moral restraint.
We need not wonder, then, why it happens, that almost all the most immoral, intemperate, profligate, vicious, and abandoned wretches on earth, embrace these liberal, diabolical sentiments.”
FROM THE NEW YORK OBSERTIE.
PRAYER OF FAITII. “ And whatsoever ye shall ask, in my name, that will I do; that the Father may be glorified in the Son.” John xiv. 13.
This and similar passages are promises so extensive and positive, that some divines of the present day confine them to the age and faith of miracles. Others quote them to support what are by many considered dangerous notions in regard to the prayer of faith. They believe that even now, if a Christian ask any thing in the name of Christ, that very thing will be granted. I am of the latter opinion. But what is it to ask in the name of Christ? That thousands of petitions are put up verbally in his name and not answered, is unquestionble: To ask in his name, requires, as I think, the following feelings:
1. Confidence in his power as God. His name is the everlasting Father, the mighty God; and consequently, every just idea of it includes the idea of divinity.
2. An ardent desire for the blessing sought; for it would be mockery to call upon the Majesty of heaven for what is not wanted, or is considered a thing of little consequence.
3. The blessing must be asked not only for Christ's sake as coming through him, but for his sake in the sense of " for his benefit;" i. e. the advancement of his glory and kingdom must be the object. The expression “ in my name” is used in the 26th verse; and there obviously means not only through Christ, but for his interest. The prayer of faith must have the same things in view,
4. As the blessing is not asked for any selfish end, there will be felt an unfeigned and entire submission. The feeling will not be, "give it Lord,” in an imperative way; but it will be cordially submitted, as to one who knows better than the suppliant what is best.
5. Where the above mentioned feelings really exist, there will be the utmost confidence that the identical blessing will be granted. No such prayer was ever made without the powerful influences of the Spirit upon the heart. Those influences would only be exerted where it was the will of God to grant the blessing. The belief of receiving the blessing would not be in view of the feeling exerciseù, but an impression produced by the Spirit upon the mind.
It may be objected, that such a belief in regard to prayer, will lead to the wildest enthusiasm. But is it incredible that a man's belief should be under the influence of the Holy Spirit ? May he not prcduce in the mind a firm belief of a truth otherwise doubtful. And let us look at facts. In Clark's lives of eminent English divines, are many well attested cases, where a firm belief that the blessing would be granted, was produced and followed by the blessing. Others where the blessing was said by the suppliant to be denied, and the event corresponded to the expectation. Instances have not been wanting
among private Christians in our own day. The mother of the missionary, Mills, is not the only one who can attest the truth of such an observation.
The real Christian is in no danger from believing this notion of the prayer of faith; for no one who understands it from experience, will mistake any thing else for it. The exercises are of so distinet and peculiar a kind, that there is no room for a mistake. They resemble in many respects the feelings of the sinner who, in submitting to God, is filled with joy so sweet and seemingly divine, that he never afterward mistakes mere natural feeling for a similar exercise. And now, how shall the passage at the head of this article be saved from entire rejection, but by views like the above? To say that the promise is not to us, is depriving the believer of a treasure worth more than volumes of metaphysical sermons, that bring all to the test of human reason, under the disguise of a sincere belief of the Scriptures.
There may be acceptable prayer which falls short of producing a firm belief-for there are many degrees of faith; but that we are in every instance required to exercise the feelings specified above under the first four heads, will not be questioned. And in proportion as they become strong and sensible, will be the faith for the blessing. No view of prayer can humble us more; and ere this be rejected by any Christian, the words of our Saviour may well be examined with prayer, lest a glorious promise should be rejected. C. S. A. - - - - - - - - -
THE CRUSADES. In the year 1096, a numerous army of 800,000 men, the greatest ever heard of in modern times, set forward for Constantinople, in several distinct bodies, under the command of different generals. From thence they proposed to pursue their march into Asia, and they expected to receive reinforcements and supplies from Alexis Commenius, the Grecian Emperor.
One grand division was conducted by Peter the Hermit, who still retained the habit of an austere monk. Some of the most sagacious commanders judged this a prudent measure, by which they got rid of an irregular, unmanageable mob, not easy to be reduced to military discipline, and who might greatly embarrass them in their warlike operations. Peter directed his course through Hungary and Thrace, where the troops under his command committed such cruelties and outrages, as provoked the inhabitants to rise in arms, and cut off great numbers of them.
Those divisions which were led on by more experienced and illustrious commanders behaved with greater decency, and with less diminution of numbers and reputation, arrived at Constantinople.
This vast and formidable army passed through the straits of Gallipolis, and proceeded towards Bythinia. Upon their arrival, they laid siege to Nice, the capital city, of which they made themselves masters, in the year 1097. From thence they carried their victorious arms into Syria, and reduced Antioch, which with its rich and extensive territory, was assigned to Boemand, Duke of Apalia. Edessa was next subdued, of which Baldwin took possession. After some defeats and some victories in the field, the siege of Jerusalem was undertaken, which continued for five weeks. At last the bappy conquest of this famous city was accomplished by the Christian army, in the year 1099, which crowned their sanguine hopes. It was taken by storm, on the 15th of July.
All, who were not Christians, were put to the sword. Abore 70,000 Musselmen were massacred. The Jews were collected into one place, and burnt together. An immense spoil, of inestimable value, was found in the Mahometan mosques.
Godfrey of Boulogne was saluted king of Jerusalem, by universal consent. But when a crown, resplendant with gold and gems, was presented him, he declined it with a grave and serious modesty, and said, that he could not bear the thought of wearing a crown of gold, in that city where the King of kings had been crowned with thorns.
However, he governed Jerusalem with singular wisdom and fortitude, supported his new dignity with signal honour and moderation, and reserved a small but gallant army for his security, whilst he permitted the remaining troops to return home.
About a year after the taking of Jerusalem, Godfrey, the heroick and virtuous Prince, died, leaving his dominions to his brother Baldwin.
Nine kings reigned in succession, and the kingdom subsisted 88 years, till A. D. 1187, when the Musselmen regained their former dominion.
But after the spirit of crusading, like an epidemick madness, bad seized the European Princes, it was a long time before it could be extinguished. Fresh expeditions to Palestine were set on foot, from time to time, and repeated efforts were made by the Christians. However, about the year 1298, all Christian Princes were entirely extirpated from the Holy Land.
During the 200 years of the Crusades, an incredible number of Christians perished by the sword, famine, pestilence and other calamities. According to some historians, above two millions of people were destroyed, in these romantick, superstitious expeditions.
Nisbet's Eccles. Hist.