Page images

bled, and are determined, they say, that the price of bread shall be reduced. The municipal authorities, wishing to avoid a disturbance, sent forth a proclamation, stating that the loaf of 10lbs. shall be reduced ten centimes (one penny); this did not satisfy them; they made an attack upon the national guard, and, having succeeded in driving them away, they proceeded to the corn warehouse and carried away all that it contained."


Ségré.-The peasantry have a notion that bread is to be sold for almost nothing, and that the Droits Reunis (the Excise) is to be suppressed; they have already destroyed the principal bureau, and refuse to pay any taxes. We are in the very centre of La Vendée, and you know what sort of people the inhabitants of Britanny are."

“Saint Girons (Arriege).—This town is in a terrible state of excitement. There is a law, not generally known, to this effect:-'If any person sustain a loss by popular tumult-house, property, &c. being destroyed, the commune (parish) shall make good the loss."

"Some time last month a number of individuals assembled and proceeded to the chateau of Count Saint Jean de Poniti, and demolished it, setting fire to the barns and out-houses. The Count escaped and took refuge in the woods; he repaired to Paris, and, when tranquillity was restored, he commenced proceedings against the parish of Urston, where his property lay. The trial took place the 29th of August, and, the law being positive, this said parish was sentenced to pay the expenses-36,000 francs. The Procureur du Roi was, in consequence, assailed by the mob of this town, and narrowly escaped. Had he been caught he would most certainly have ended his days on the lantern post."

Such are the scenes which are being enacted in France, in consequence of the doctrine of the people being the source of legitimate power; and it does not require the exercise of a supernatural gift of prophecy to foretell that the same scenes must take place in England from the preaching of the same infidel doctrine. The transfer of power from the aristocracy to the mob, which is the purport of this Bill, miscalled Reform, is sure to produce here the effects which such power has produced in every other country on the globe. Thus, then, we perceive fulfilled a particular character of one of the plagues which we have before enumerated-namely, the sword-in that it was to be the sword of civil war, for every man is to fall by the sword of his brother (Haggai ii. 22). This, too, is the force of the reference to the destruction of the Midianites, where it is so frequently said that the last and final destruction of the nations which have oppressed the Jews shall be "as in the days of Midian." Our readers cannot now be taken by surprise at any incident that shall occur. On the 1st of July, 1830, no one would believe that we were on the eve of universal convulsion. Within one year from that date four dethroned sovereigns sought an asylum on these shores,-the King of France, the Crown Prince of Belgium, the reigning Duke of Brunswick, and the Emperor of the Brazils. The rapidity of these transactions has prepared us for any event: nothing can come for which we are unprepared; nothing can befal the most earthlyminded for which he is not prepared, except the coming of the

Lord Jesus Christ. Yet to be prepared for this is the only point worthy of our care; to be found with oil in our lamps, now that we have so long professed to go out to meet the Bridegroom, and to be acknowledged by Him, in whose name we have preached, and done many wonderful works. "Grant, Lord, that at thy second coming, to judge the world, we may be found an acceptable people in thy sight.'

[ocr errors]


In our last number we made some observations, tending to shew the possibility of the existence of doctrinal Calvinism, correct withal to a certain point, without a vestige of genuine Christianity lying beneath it. It is not, however, with any feelings of triumph at so decided a proof of the soundness of our posi tion which the conduct of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has recently exhibited, that we draw the attention of our readers to its proceedings, but because they afford another illustration of the total absence of Christian love from the Evangelical world, and of the way in which the leaders of that world are ready to join every kind of heretic in persecuting the true servants of the Lord Jesus Christ; that "little flock," to be found in every denomination; "the salt" which stays the corruption of that majority which hates, and ultimately casts them out, to its own destruction, as we have often pointed out.

The essential difference between the Evangelical and Highchurch parties, both in Scotland and England, consists in this: the former say that their hope of eternal life is founded upon the vicarious sacrifice and righteousness of Christ alone; while the latter say that the merits of this sacrifice and righteousness are available only to those who do the best in their power for themselves. This doctrine the former say is the Popish doctrine of human merit, and that persons holding it cannot be saved. The Evangelicals, therefore, think that themselves are the only Christians, and that the High-church party, however moral and estimable men they may be, are still out of the pale of salvation; not members of the true mystical body of Christ, nor children of God.

Besides these two classes, there are, of course, many persons in the ministry who follow religion merely as a trade, or who uphold it, and all ecclesiastical institutions, for the purposes of secular government, without any adequate sense of its importance; and amongst these there must be many others who are pure infidels, and entertain a deadly hate to Christ, manifested

towards all who exhibit His spirit, and declare his word and work.

Wherever, on a religious question, these latter evince a decided antipathy to any class of professors of religious truth, and are at the trouble of taking overt acts against them, it affords a strong presumption that the objects of their malevolence are genuine Christians. On the present occasion, all the infidels in Scotland, all the blasphemers, all the sectarian schismatics, all the sceptical editors of newspapers, all the High-church party, all the religious magazines, and the majority of the Evangelicals, have united to ridicule, to abuse as impostors, and to excommunicate from their fellowship, certain individuals, who profess to be the servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. Whether these persons are really servants of Jesus Christ, or not, is a question to be tried upon its own merits: that the very large majority of those who unite in condemning them are not, and do not even pretend to be so, is matter of undeniable notoriety. Let us take, then, first, the side of the question that the condemned persons are not honest servants of the Lord: it is passing strange that the infidels throughout Scotland, the Edinburgh lawyers, proverbially the most sceptical crew in Europe, should be so very anxious to censure that which, according to their own views, makes for their side of the case, inasmuch as they who do not even pretend to be friends of Christ cannot care one rush whether others are his friends or his enemies; and therefore their conduct is inexplicable. But if we take the other side of the question, and suppose that the condemned persons are the servants of Christ, then the conduct of the infidels is perfectly explicable; then is it quite in accordance with the testimony of Scripture, and with the experience of ecclesiastical history: and then it is for the Evangelical party to shew how they can be Christians whilst persecuting the brethren of Christ; whilst one with the infidel, and sceptic, and blasphemer in opinion, touching certain views of religious truth.

We have said that the point as to whether these persons are Christians, or are not, is to be tried upon its own merits and whichever way the case may be decided, the Evangelicals are completely excluded from any advantage of the verdict, for they have themselves, over and over again, in their most accredited organs, acknowledged them to be Christians. The greater part of Dr. Andrew Thomson's tenth sermon, on Universal Pardon, is taken up with guarding his hearers against the errors to which certain expressions of Mr. Erskine and Mr. Campbell are calculated to lead, on the particular ground of the eminently Christian characters of those gentlemen. He maintains, most correctly, that many very amiable and excellent men have held heretical opinions; and that, therefore, doctrines must be tried on their

own merits, and not by the characters of the persons who profess them. This is all perfectly true; but the necessity that such a writer felt of removing from his readers an impression favourable to his opponents, shews most strongly the personal character of those opponents, which could so powerfully impress their hearers; and hence the subject of the sermon is better evidence than even the following expressions, however strong they be: "When piety and holiness are ascribed to them, I cheerfully concur in the commendation. If all the tribute that is claimed for them have respect to their personal and spiritual worth, that is a tribute which is justly due, which I pay down at this moment, and which I pay, not merely without reluctance, but with pleasure: and I only wish that they could be prevailed upon to cast away the heresies to which they are so eagerly attached, in order to make our esteem unqualified; and that many, who censure their zeal in propagating these, would imitate them in their heavenly conversation, their devotedness to God, and their benevolence to men."

Such, then, being the testimony to the moral and religious worth of these gentlemen, out of the mouth of one of the most virulent writers that ever existed, let us now proceed to examine the conduct of his brethren in the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland with respect to one of them, Mr. Campbell. Since it is impossible to give all the opinions expressed by all the judges, we must make a selection: and that which we have fixed upon is the speech of Dr. Barr, because it seems to have been published and circulated with the greatest care, and probably received in the press the revision of the Doctor himself; because the Doctor claims, "having had the honour to occupy the chair of the synod," to have " had the best opportunities of becoming acquainted" with the case; and because, in truth, one speech is as good as any other where all seem to have been of the same opinion and of the same spirit; and no one of the whole assembly, as far as we have been able to learn, who agreed in the conclusion to which Dr. Barr came, entered the slightest protest against his arguments, or line of conduct.

Forming, then, our estimate by this speech, there is not a single part of the proceedings of the judges gathered together in the General Assembly that does not appear to have been the opposite of that which it ought to have been. At the very outset of his harangue Dr. Barr is guilty of an inconsistency which no man, who had any soundness of judgment, would have exhibited for no sooner had he spoken of the " great powers, highly respectable as they confessedly are, which these gentlemen possess, than he in the very next sentence describes the sermons of Mr. Campbell as exhibiting marks which belong to a

downright idiot rather than to one who is "confessed to possess great powers.

"One result of the sermons they have delivered has been an impression on my mind, either that they do not themselves understand very clearly the subjects which they profess to explain, or that they are sadly defective in the capacity of making them level to the comprehension of others.-I have heard from them many confident assertions supported by no argument, sweeping conclusions deduced from no premises, nice metaphysical distinctions where no substantial difference existed, laboured explanations which only increased the obscurity, accompanied with unfounded, unmeaning, and almost unending declamation."

Such is the mode in which Dr. Barr thinks the "undoubted possession of great powers" is exhibited! That it may be the mode in which his own are manifested we will not be so uncivil as to contradict; but we positively deny that such was the result of reading Mr. Campbell's sermons upon our minds, or, we believe, upon the minds of any one unwarped by the bitterness of sectarian malignity.

The real question brought to issue by the proceedings against Mr. Campbell and Mr. Scott was this, "Did Christ's death atone for the sins of all human nature, or only for the sins of the elect." It is very true, that, in affirming the former part of the proposition, Mr. Campbell has made use of several expressions which are not to be approved, and even made some assertions which, by being overstrained, are erroneous; and that these are mixed up with the truth which it is his object to convey, in a manner sometimes not very easy to unravel. But the propriety or impropriety of these expressions is as nothing, when placed in competition with the question whether our Lord Jesus Christ is the exhibition of God's love to all men, or only to a few men. Dr. Barr says:

"It may be proper to recal the attention of the Assembly to the real state of the question now before them. Mr. Campbell stands accused of having held and taught that Christ literally died for every human being; that, by his death, Christ actually took away the sins of every human being, which are not and cannot be imputed to him; and that this act of indemnity, passed through the death of Christ for him, is equally valid and effectual in his behalf, whether he believes it or continues in unbelief."

Of these three charges, on which Mr. Campbell was arraigned, the first is that which is all important, which Mr. Campbell is correct in maintaining, and which the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland for having condemned is guilty of the most appalling heresy; the second might be ambiguous if standing by itself, but connected with the first is merely another expression of the same truth; the third is ambiguous, because if it refer to the work of Christ it is true, while if it refer to the sinner it is untrue: but, at the worst, never was the wolf more put to his shifts to find a pretext for an excuse to seize upon the lamb that he was previously determined to devour, than was the

« PreviousContinue »