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his work is now as appropriate and instructive as ever : or rather more so; for we cannot conceive a period of " grosser darkness,” of a more " general delusion of Christians,” in respect to the subject before us, than that of 1832. Certainly this book shews that there were arguments of a better, and oppositions of a worthier, kind, brought against the doctrine and the cases of spiritual gifts in 1713, than we have been able to meet with in the present day.
The four-fold division of the work will give an idea of its purport and extent. (1) 'A minute inquiry into the Scriptures, touching the several ways of God's revealing himself ; namely, the apparition of angels, Divine dreams, prophetic 'visions, voices heard, and inspiration; wherein the original 'text is carefully heeded, and illustrated from the most ancient and universally esteemed versions, and explained also from the most learned annotators. (2) Extracts from most of the ' writers now extant unto the time of Constantine ; shewing from ' them that the spirit of prophecy continued to be publicly acknowledged, existing for three hundred years at least. (3) A defence of the position, That the spirit which was condemned by some churches, during the said ages, under the name of Montanism, for diabolical, was probably, by all that appears of it upon any good authority, the true spirit of prophecy. (4) 'An account of many prevailing principles, touching the spirit
of prophecy, which are proved to be anti-scriptural, and ' which nevertheless are taken to be decisive in the trial of spirits.
We call particular attention to the varied and direct evidence adduced from "primitive antiquity,” to the subversion of the modern popular notions. Our opponents have laid great stress upon their own age and their own experience ; let them give a portion of their consideration to the "three hundred years at least” mentioned in part the second. This book will go far to shew that our views have been as rashly charged with novelty, &c. as those formerly denounced as such, touching the Millennium. There is one testimony in favour of this work which may be of service to our Wesleyan friends, and mitigate some portion of that asperity which many of their body have prematurely displayed ; we refer to John Wesley's Journal, 15th Aug. 1750 :-"By reflecting on an old book' which I had read in * this journey (The general Delusion of Christians'), I was fully convinced of what I had long suspected ; (1) That the Montanists in the second and third centuries were real scriptural Christians; and (2) That the grand reason why the miraculous gifts were so soon withdrawn, was, not only that faith and holiness were well nigh lost, but that dry, formal, orthodox men, began
even then to ridicule whatever gifts they had not themselves, • and to decry them all as either madness or imposture.”
It is rather entertaining, and very instructive, to find those now bearing the name of Wesley holding such contrary opinions to their founder, and upon a subject so important as the work of the Holy Ghost. “ It is the notion of some," says the Rev. R. Watson in his sermon singularly entitled " Charity superior to the Gift of Tongues," as if any one doubted it), “ that it was the design of God to continue miraculous gifts in the chuch ; and that if there had been no decline of piety, they would not have been withdrawn. I see no reason for entertaining such an opinion.
Our readers will remember, that in one of our early numbers we introduced an ample and decided advocacy of the doctrines of the first resurrection, and of our Lord's personal advent to establish a literal as well as spiritual kingdom on the earth, from the pen of the Rev. J. Fletcher, so justly deemed by the Wesleyans second only to the zealous and useful Wesley. Many were then surprised at the indifference of some and the hostility of others to the sentiments of one so much admired and respected by this sect, until it was discovered for them that he held the old-fashioned Millennarian views; and now we have to witness John Wesley himself set at nought by the best-informed and most influential of his professed followers. Formal reference is thus made to the strange discordance between Wesley and Wesleyans, chiefly because the modern preachers and publications of this body of Christians, instead of manfully meeting the opposite sentiments of Mr. Wesley, have conveniently concealed them, and, when respectfully mentioned by others, have treated the reference to them with unworthy contempt. The writer of these remarks has himself twice written to the editor of the Wesleyan Magazine, requesting him, for the sake of fair inquiry, if not of precious truth, to pay some respect, to make one allusion, to the written sentiments of the great and good man whose name is used for a title-page; but such a natural and suitable request was treated, like John Wesley, by this instructor of the Wesleyans, with “ dignified silence." So much for the fair and full inquiries after truth, of some religious teachers. The Scriptures in the first place, and the testimonies of departed wisdom and piety in the second place, have been dislodged from their legitimate authority, and the supremacy given to this rash denouncer, and that ignorant declaimer. Yes ; they are hard words, but true; for he must be a rash” man, who, bearing the name of Wesleyan, hesitates not to censure as “a notion having no reason in it,” the deliberate conviction of Wesley on so grave a matter as the Spirit's work, without
even mentioning the grounds on which that conviction proceeded; and he must be an “ignorant" Wesleyan if he did not know them.
To return to the book (with John Wesley's favourable recommendation of it as our own) we would urge our readers to seek its perusal. In so elaborate a work, there must be a few objectionable points ; but upon the whole it is a valuable body of divinity
touching the ways of God's revealing himself,” a "treasury of things new and old," which cannot but enrich the mind that " searches for knowledge as for hid treasure," and that, with supreme reverence of God's word and Spirit, desires to know the will and do the work of God.
From the editor's powerful and appropriate preface we select the following passage, as containing wholesome advice to those of our friends who are under distress and temptation, on account of the present standing, or rather shaking, of church establishments.
• If God at this time be once more making his voice to be • heard on earth by the mouths of holy men and women, it depends on the pastors whether that voice shall be heard in the churches, or excluded from them. According to the forms and ceremonies of the Church of England, to which her officebearers cling with far greater tenacity than they do to what is
more essential, the prophetic voice could not be heard ; and • therefore no minister who prefers his sect to God, as most do, dare permit its utterance. Hence the Church of England ' must come down, in order to make room for it. But no • Christian will assist in her destruction. God will pull her • down, and the instruments he makes use of for such ends are 'not his own people, but his enemies. It was not Isaiah, but • Sennacherib ; it was not Jeremiah, but Nebuchadnezzar; it was not Jesus, but Titus, who destroyed the church of Judea : it was not the Spirit of faith, but the spirit of infidelity, which • has destroyed the popish imposture : and as our Lord, and his disciples after him, continued to worship at Jerusalem after the temple was devoted to destruction, and a new dispensation was
commenced, giving all due honour to the very last to those • who sat in Moses' seat ; so is it the duty of Christians now,
while justifying the righteous dealings of God in destroying ' that church, and those pastors who reject his Spirit, and refuse 6
to allow His Son to enter into His own house, to continue still to worship in the churches and to reverence the ministers for • their office-sake, if not for their own, until not one stone of • her walls remains upon another; or, unless, as is more pro'bable, the Lord should have previously caught his disciples up 'to meet him in the clouds, to be with him, as his assessors in
'the judgment, and his companions in breaking the nations ' and the churches to pieces with a rod of iron. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus: come quickly.”
pp. 31, 32.
The Christian Dispensation Miraculous ; with a Dedication to
the Lord Bishop of London. Second Edition. By the Rev.
Thomas Boys, M. A. Most of our readers, we hope, perused with great satisfaction the paper of which the above is a reprint and enlargement, in the Jewish Expositor for Feb. 1831 ; afterwards published in a separate pamphlet, not now to be procured.
In addition to a very able and Scriptural defence of the general doctrine, so repugnant to the feebleness and faithlessness of the nominal church, the present publication contains much that is interesting and instructive on other topics therewith connected. The case of Miss Fancourt is treated scientifically as well as theologically; the singular suppression of the Jewish Expositor is narrated; the neological symptoms of certain religious societies are given ; the “pseudo-pacifics” attacked ; the Bible Society's non-religiousness and conscientious-prayerlessness, &c., exposed ; and various subjects of passing interest are well introduced, and applied to the truth at stake.
Of course, amongst so much miscellaneous matter a difference of sentiment may be expected ; and we have to regret, in passing, that the respected author appears to have made up his mind unfavourably, and we believe unscripturally, respecting the human nature of our Lord. If, as we suspect from an expression p. 104, Mr. Boys has decided “ the question as mixed up with doctrines which have been reported to him,” we trust he will reconsider the subject, apart from all “ reports” and "mixings up,” which his experience ought to have learnt him to set at nought. His advice to Mr. Irving (p. 106), to do what Mr. Boys thinks would make every lover of the truth rejoice, and the contrary stand confounded," originated, we presume, in the latter's altered, singularly altered opinion, " that there are many terms of censure, hitherto employed by him with a very comprehensive application to the religious world, which now demand qualification!”
Oh no! Let Mr. Irving take the advice of his Master; " Be thou faithful unto death.” By Mr. Boys's own concessions, it would appear that Mr. Irving has been the means of “ bringing to light the infidelity and ignorance of masses of professors, by whom Christ's humanity was not (and is not) held.” Wherefore
let him not “make a movement in the rear like an able tactician," as Mr. Boys recommends (p. 105), but let him
Go on,' like an able soldier, ' looking only and ever unto Jesus,
the Captain of salvation,' regardless of this man's “ desire," and that man's “ confounding.” Let him go on, and bring ' to light the infidelity and ignorance of masses of professors,' &c.
The substance of the author's sentiments on the present controversy, in which he has taken a manly and conspicuous part, may be gathered from his own statement, Pref. pp. 23 et seq. :
My views go chiefly to the three following points ;-that ' miracles have never been wholly withdrawn from the church ; " that miracles may occur now; and that in some instances, ' miracles have actually been wrought.' Again, p. 39: 'Such
we conceive are some of the peculiar reasons for expecting mi. racles in the present day ;--1. The miracles of Popery; 2. The ' bold front of infidelity ; 3. The slackness and timidity of the church, in facing its opponents ; 4. The mixture in the professing world ; 5. The lowliness of the religious standards; 6. • The general forgetfulness or denial of the Divine government ' and interposition ; 7. The probable and apparent approach of 'the latter-day glory; 8. Missionary exertions; 9. The prayer
of the church for a larger effusion of the Holy Spirit. Under * these circumstances, well aware of the penalties denounced against such opinions, we cannot nevertheless refrain from expressing our conviction, that the views which admit of no miraculous manifestations in the present day, are unsound and superficial, and that they may be traced to the want of just notions, and a due consideration of the present circumstances ' and prospects of the church.' And p. 46 : “ We own our be• lief, that on the footing upon which it was placed and left by • Christ himself, the doctrine of miraculous power in the church still remains. The correct view we conceive to be, that miracles belong to the ordinances, or standing means of grace, bequeathed by Christ for the use of his church in all ages : but that the * benefit of them is not to be had but by faith, and this a pecu• liar faith, of which miracles are the object; and also, that we ' have little experience of miracles now, because such faith, as ' well as saving faith, is low...If, on the one hand, any professing 'to hold these views, allege false miracles, or miracles in sup• port of false doctrine, try abominable experiments, &c. we can
“ What is the chaff to the wheat ?”. “ The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream ; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord.” When we hear of extravagances, we are sorry for them ; but the truth stands as it did. Nay, the extravagances themselves, if any have really occurred, may, in fact, be an evidence that there is some truth in the matter; for where there is truth, there it is that the devil sets up
his counterfeits. If then, on the one hand, any professing VOL. VI.NO, I.
• only say,