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to see, that were the mercy or the justice of God the object of exclusive attention, the sympathies excited would be incomplete in effect-the object contemplated would, in such a case, be considered imperfectly, being seen but on one side, and the corresponding emotions must consequently be partial.
The second obstacle by which she supposes the direct influence of revealed truth to be turned aside, and its natural ends frustrated, is a tendency arising from the selfish principle to regard as indispensable to salvation,'not so much truth itself, as those explanations of it which are the result of human thought, and deductions finely drawn from scripture by speculative men. That there is such a propensity we do not deny; and that a disproportionate zeal for modes and terms, frequently checks any farther progress, is equally evident. But the manner in which Miss Hamilton here expresses herself, appears to us, loose and objectionable. It seems to condemn, not the imposition merely of human explanations, nor a reliance upon them as human; but even that assistance which our minds may safely derive from them, and the convenience of resorting to them for marking the religious distinctions that exist in society. Since the authority of scripture is allowed equally by all parties, (by all, at least, but the most flagrant violators of it,) it becomes necessary to explain our belief by something more definite than merely saying that ours is the religion of the Bible; because those who differ from us the most widely, would describe their belief in precisely the same terms. If it were the case that the grand distinctions of the religious world were simply between those who did, ånd those who did not, avow the authority of scripture, and, if, on each side, a similar view only were taken of scripture itself, it would, of course, be sufficient to say, mine is the religion of the Bible because the nature of it could not then be misunderstood. But the fact is otherwise ; and such a profession would leave us just as ignorant of the speaker's creed, as if he had said nothing upon the subject. We might conjecture that he could not be a Socinian of the philosophical school ; but we should be obliged to make other inquiries before his language would become any further intelligible. It seems, therefore, expedient to resort to human explanations of scripture, not as authoritative in themselves, not as a rule of our faith, but in order to give to persons professing different opinions, names characteristic of those opinions, and by which they may be known in society. Nor should we forget the progressive light which human investigation casts upon scripture truth itself. “ Here is wisdom, and let him that bath understanding, count the number:" let him apply the faculties of his mind to discover even “ the deep things of God,” and “bring forth things new," as well as old things, so that they be but fairly drawn from this sacred treasury. He who believes himself to be most simply a Bible Christian, must mean that he adopts those opinions which appear to him to express the genuine sense of the Bible. If a Christian indeed, and not a mere speculatist or party man, these are revered by him, not as his own, nor as those of the sect to which he belongs, but as the transcript of Divine truth. Firmly believing them to be such, and as such, in some point, indispensable to salvation, he earnestly endeavours to propagate similar views; but he is always solicitous not to impose them upon others, even should the sword of authority be in his hand, well knowing that he is not invested with either infallibility, or a commission. We feel at a loss, therefore, to conceive the real practical use to be made of our author's remarks, any further than as they condemn the introduction of human creeds differing from revealed truth, or in preference to it, or in any way imposed upon the acceptance of mankind : for it appears to us necessary, perverted as the language of scripture has been, to express ourselves in other language, shewing the sense which we attach to the original; for which sense alone, whether conveyed in the terms of scripture or otherwise, it is obvious that every man and every party, must, in reality, contend.
In the last chapter, those means are considered which the positive institutions of religion afford for cultivating the benevolent affections ; but we have not room for a single remark. The whole concludes with a beautiful view of the benevolence of Deity, affording or instituting such diversified means for the improvement and happiness of his creatures ; and educing benefit towards them, even from natural and moral evil. Well, indeed, may we exclaim, “How great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty!" But we have felt a suspicion, when reading this and similar passages, that Miss Hamilton is herself indulging in that partial contemplation of Divine attributes, the evil of which she so clearly perceives, and so justly exposes. There are, we conceive, inscribed upon the whole face of nature, intimations of a God offended, as well as reconcileable and bounteous; and though his wisdom is able, and his mercy is willing, to make all things, even these, work together for the good of
some, yet we are not to mistake the frown of Deity for his smile, or to suppose that in doing so, we add a grace to infinite perfection. We may possibly have misapprehended our author's views, but the idea has more than once presented itself to our minds.
After the long account we have given of the work before us, and the numerous extracts we have made, scarcely any thing remains to add by way of general remark. It is certainly no brilliant, and yet no small praise, to say, that every thing we
receive from the pen of Miss Hamilton is useful. There is no writer of whose motives we entertain less suspicion ; none to whom we feel more cordially well disposed; and there are few from whom we may gather more valuable instruction. For when an observant, reflective, and benevolent mind, of no common order, and actuated by the simple desire of doing good, communicates the result of its investigations, it is scarcely possible that an attentive auditor should not derive important advantage. And wlio does not feel, when the first fascinations, arising from works of brilliant genius, have subsided, that one page of plain truth, flowing warm from the conviction of the writer, is worth incalculably more than volumes of fine writing, in which, to appear a fine writer, was the author's paramount design, and to communicate truth, and nothing but the truth, (unparalleled bondage !) the very last thing that occurred to his mind. Who does not perceive, in such productions, in some, too, in wbich worthier inotives have evidently had their share, many a sentence, and many a section, which would never have been preserved, if the writer had paused to inquire;--to what purpose is all this?-is it just ? --is it useful -is there one word of truth in the whole ?-or is it only an elegant, or a grand and striking sophism? We do not mean to say that every work should be a serion ;--unhappily, this would not, of necessity, remove the evil, for, occasionally, such sentences appear in sermons, as well as elsewhere: but upon all subjects, there are the true and the false,—the real and the fanciful : and however light may be the topic chosen, it is the duty of every man feeling the diguity of intellect, and the value of time, to confine himself to the true. In this respect there is no one, with whose productions we are acquainted, who appears to be more conscientious than Miss Hamilton ; and if a degree of diffuseness in the present work should strike some readers as a trespass upon time, it will be evident to others, that it was an earnest desire to elucidate im, portant subjects, which led her on. The style is free from affectation, but it is neither so energetic, nor so lucid, as that which characterizes first-rate productions; and we perceive, occasionaily, a want of grammatical accuracy, which can scarcely be regarded as an error of the press. But if modesty, integrity, good sense, and benevolence, displayed in a course of close observation and reflection, upon subjects of bigh importance, can. recommend a work to attentive perusal, and ensure for it a feeling of grateful esteem, the work before us, 'illustrative of principles essentially connected with the improvement of the understapding, the imagination, and the heart,' will be read with attention, and remembered with esteem and gratitude.
Art. III.A Practical Treatise on the ordinary Operations of the Holy
Spirit; by the Rev. G. S. Faber, B. D. Rector of Long-Newton, in the County and Diocese of Durham, 8vo. pp. 256. price 7s.
London. F. C. and J. Rivington. BETWEEN the man who rejects the doctrine of the influences
of the Holy Spirit and him who firmly believes it, there must be a radical difference in the whole religious character. Their views of 'Deity, of themselves, of the nature and consequences of transgression, of scripture, and of Providence;-the habitual state of their minds, their devotional exercises, and the manner in which they apply themselves to moral and evangelical duties ; can have very little similarity. The man who expects no guidance in his researches but his own reason, who deems himself the sole author of his virtues, and who relies entirely on his wisdom and power to resist temptation, must feel himself comparatively little indebted to God ;--must have at once a' high" notion of himself, and a low estimate of Divine law. His songs of praise, being dictated by a much lower idea of obligation, must be far less animating and lively; and his prayers, being confined to fewer topics, and those of minor value, much less frequent and earnest. His references to a Being who, though invisible, is ever present, will be less frequent; and his mind will be altogether destitute of that feeling of reliance on a power always in exercise for his support, which constitutes so great a source of comfort, and inspires the believer with so much courage and ardour in his efforts against evil propensities, and in his endeavours to attain higher degrees of piety and virtue. That sublime state of mind, when it feels itself as if borne aloft by the power of God, penetrated by his invigorating presence, and enabled to triumph in a strength which will vanquish every enemy, and surmount every difficulty, must be wholly unknown; and the feelings of hope and con fidence, if such feelings exist, being no longer consistent with deep convictions of moral debility and unworthiness, instead of inflaming our love to God, and inspiring hosannas to his name, will degenerate infallibly into presumption and pride. If it were possible to conceive that a person who has once heartily believed the reality of Divine, sanctifying operations, who has habitually availed himself of the comfort that belief supplies, and who, in'all his efforts towards improvement, has constantly trusted for success in their energy, should afterwards entirely lose the reliance and the conviction by which it had been supported; it would be difficult to describe the change which would thereby be induced in his mind and conduct. Religion, as it would then appear to him, would be divested of its lofty character, its di
vinity, its glorious holiness, and its power of uniting the soul to God: a disruption would have taken place between him and Deity; and, however exalted in a kind of individual and separate importance, he would feel himself no less debased than was the Temple when the Glory of the Lord, the Shechinah of his presence, departed. His duties towards God, consisting only of acknowledgements for the gift of life, and the bounties of providence, together with a vague idea of forgiveness, would be few and easily discharged; and all that remained to complete bis obligations, would be to cultivate kind affections, and perform acts of benevolence towards his neighbours. But, as by diminishing the necessity of applying, with constancy and care, for a power to work within him, he would lose what is generally denominated spirituality of mind, and the life and power of religion,' so his ability and disposition to benefit his fellow creatures, would be greatly diminished. It is at the throne of God, while bewailing our'inperfections, acknowledging our weakness, and imploring Divine assistance, ----while interceding for those around us, and commanding even our enemies to mercy and grace, that we learn to conquer the malevolent feelings, to suppress all lofty thoughts of ourselves, to be pitiful, tender, meek, and affectionate, and to conduct ourselves towards others as we wish to be treated by him who teaches us to forgive as we ourselves expect forgiveness. Whatever notions weaken our dependence upon God, and abate the neces. sity of prayer, proportionally foster self-importance, and enfeeble the general practice of all the moral virtues. The question, therefore, whether there is, in fact, such a Divine influence operating on the minds of good men, illuminating their understandings, and renovating their moral nature, is one of great practical importance : the affirmative of this inquiry, is indeed by some utterly denied, and the very idea of it denounced as irrational, and reviled as enthusiastic; while, by others, it is received with so hesitating a credence, and entertained with so slight a conviction of its value, that it is but incidentally referred to, and feebly inculcated. But why should we resign the advantages of a doctrine so consoling? why should it be thought incredible, that He who constituted our spiritual nature, should renew and correct it, when it has become degenerate and disordered? Can it be supposed that there is any part of his works from which the influence of the Creator is necessarily excluded ? Who will say that the Almighty is the only agent who must for ever abandon as beyond his power to restore, if once impaired, what he himself originally made perfect? Is it a contradiction to suppose, that He who annually renews the energies of nature, and who can raise the dead at pleasure, should be capable at any time, in a manner altogether sovereign and infallibly effectual,