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constitution, and made the whole land to belong in fee to the Crown, and to be held from it in capite, as existed in all countries in later feodal times (Gen. xlviii. 13-26); so that the laws and customs of Egypt were established by God Himself, A.M. 2300, and thus continued for above 1100 years.
The language in which the destruction of this monarchy is described couples it with all other places which describe the final doom of Christendom. Its overthrow is to take place in the day when God causes the horn of Israel to bud forth,” and when the opening of the mouth of prophecy is to be again heard (Ezek. xxix. 21). In Ezek. xxx. 3, it is declared that its destruction is to take place in the day of the Lord. In xxxi. the greatness of the monarch is acknowledged, and that his beauty was made for him by God (vers. 8, 9). In xxxii. 2, he is pourtrayed by the lion, the sovereign master of the beasts; and by the whale, the
greatest of the inhabitants of the waters. But his flesh is to be given to the mountains and villages (vers. 4–7); and the fowls of heaven and the beasts of the whole earth are called to feed upon it, as they are to the supper of the Lamb in Rev. xix. 17; and the rivers are to be full of blood, as it is said there shall be in Rev.xiv. 20, up to the horses' bridles. From verse 22 to 32 it is declared that Assyria, Persia, Meshech, Tubal, and Edom are already destroyed, and that this fate has befallen them because they had “ caused terror in the land of the living"-literally, in Immanuel's land, Judea ; and spiritually, in the church;
-while the fate of Pharoah is said to be on account of God's people having leaned upon him and found him a faithless support. Moreover, the time is fixed with, if possible, still greater precision, in Zech. x.; for in “ the time of the latter rain" of the Spirit, which is being now poured down, as the former rain was at Pentecost; in the time when the goats”—the mighty, the strong, and the powerful—are punished; when the house of Judah is to be made the goodly house of Jehovah in the day of his battle ; when Ephraim is to be summoned from his dispersion, gathered out of Egypt and Assyria-from human wisdom and infidelity—and brought to Lebanon ; then it is-namely, in the day when these things are done--that “the sceptre of Egypt shall depart away!
This is indeed literally the case : we are told continually, that it is presumptuous and idle to lean for teaching upon the Spirit of God, since we have now so much learning, such well-appointed teachers, and such freedom of discussion. When we have pointed to the destruction of the temporalities of the clergy, we have been told that that could never take place, for the number of lay impropriators was so great that they would look after the tithes for their own sake ; and that, at all events, the church was so bound up with the throne that one could not fall without
VOL, VI.-NO. 11,
the other. Poor consolation ! for the wisdom of the church fails to teach her to know the voice of God, and her alliance with the crown has failed to preserve her wealth : her wisdom is her snare; her light is her darkness; her wealth is the bait which draws on her destruction. She “ falls with the uncircumcised,” cast off from her covenant with God. Woe, woe, unto her ! howl for her shepherds : there is no prospect for her but mourning, lamentation, and woe. Yet the Bishops are talking of reform! saying, “ in the pride and stoutness of heart, The bricks indeed are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones; the sycamores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars ;” and the new order of things shall be more permanent than the former.- We trust the readers of this Journal are better versed in the mind and purposes of God.
PROTESTANT A POSTASY.
Throughout mankind, the Christian kind at least,
And spits abhorrence in the Christian's face. These lines of Cowper contain better theology than poetry. It matters little whether a man be born in a Popish, Lutheran, or Calvinistic country; whether his education has been in a cloister, university, or Dissenting academy; the desideratum of his heart is to find a set of opinions which may still “the compunctious visitings of conscience," and allow him to continue at ease in the practice of sin. The nature of his education and the different intellectual powers he possesses will vary the
dose as well as the composition of the opiate necessary to produce the effect; but an opiate he must, and will eventually, find. The whole Protestant world with one consent brings in the Papist guilty on the score of penances, and sees readily in him that by their means the most wicked practices may be persevered in ; but the Protestant does not so easily perceive the process by which he effects the same end; and yet, as nature is still nature, there must be some means by which similar results are produced.
Passing by that large class of Protestants who are satisfied with not being Papists, and who are pure Deists in creed, as far at least as they can define that about which they never bestow a moment's thought, we come at once to that portion which does think on religious subjects, and which therefore assumes to itself the title of the Religious or Evangelical World. This title is just : it is, to all intents and purposes, a world : it has the same principles, pursues the same ends, acts through the same means, as the world; but the two worlds differ from each other in words, and in some shades of practice: in essentials they are one, in non-essentials they differ. The point before us is to examine the process by which men may profess to be more religious or evangelical than the rest of mankind, and yet be ungodly, and justify themselves in the same.
It can scarcely be too often repeated, because we are prone to forget it, that there is as much of fashion in vice and virtue, as in politeness and rudeness. The language of the court of Elizabeth, albeit prude as she was, would scarcely now be tolerated in the mess-room of a well regulated regiment; and no cabinet minister in these days is expected to be an elegant performer of a minuet, although such a qualification was greatly esteemed then. As the age has become refined, so has it become hypocritical ; it has knocked off the coarse angles which obtruded themselves in the olden time, both in language and in actions; and this change is mistaken for an improvement in the material itself. Professor's of religion, in all ages, must be more observant of avoiding outward vice than other persons; if the standard of national manners : rises, the standard of the religious professors is pushed up also. It however by no means follows, that, because the professors of religion now are more averse to appearances of vice than they were a bundred years ago, there is also an increase of real religion. Moreover, the vices of the heathen, with which the Apostles had to contend, were gross and animal ; those with which we have to contend are refined and intellectual. Vile and atrocious as are the debaucheries of Paris and London, these cities are models of purity in comparison with the scenes described by the poets and historians who were contemporaries of the Cæsars; while on the other hand,“ the march of mind” had not eaten faith in unseen and invisible agencies out of the hearts of the Roman, Greek, and African people.
The advantages, in a religious point of view, which were gained by the Reformers, have been greatly misunderstood, and in many ways overrated : and that such is God's mind upon the subject is clear from the fact that there is scarcely a trace of that work to be found in the Book of God: and hence the false notion, that “ God hath forsaken the earth,” has been greatly strengthened ; for men, affixing an undue importance in a religious aspect to that work, have concluded that it must occupy a prominent place in the Prophecies ; and not finding it there, have drawn the false inference that the Prophecies do not relate to the present state of Christian churches and nations at all! The good done by the Reformers was confined to two points : First, they cleared the way to the cross of Christ; and, secondly, they raised a protest against Popery, and shewed it to be an apostasy. By their own confession they only made the commencement of a work, and by the confession of all their successors that commencement has never been carried on. The Popish apostasy being exposed, it was impossible again to subject the kings who had thrown it off to prostrate their crowns at the feet of the Pope; nor could the people be again brought to believe in lying miracles, nor in the infallibility of priests. Satan therefore must lay a snare of another kind. The invention of printing, which God about this period gave to men as a great weapon with which to expose the Papacy, would extend the intellectual knowledge of the mass of mankind, and the delusion in which they were to be snared must be suited accordingly. An apple was sufficient to destroy the simple-hearted Eve; low animal desires were enough for fresh converts from Paganism ; but Protestants must be induced to rebel against and to hate God, by being furnished with reasons, excuses, and justifications for so doing. The doctrines of justification by faith, election, predestination, effectual calling, and final preseverance, were speedily woven into a veil as thick as that which now blinds the eyes of the Jews when Moses is read. There is, no doubt, a way of stating all those doctrines which is true; but it is equally doubtless, that there is a way of stating them which makes them assert what is absolutely false ; and that this latter is the ordinary mode in which they are stated and believed, is what we mean now to shew. For example, the first, which means to set forth the efficacy of Christ's blood. Men very commonly use the Blood of Christ as a quietus to their consciences for committing divers things which they know to be wrong: each time this stifling and trifling with their convictions takes place, the conscience becomes by imperceptible degrees, blinded and hardened ; until at length it is made perfectly callous. They still hold to the doctrine; they love sin : the light of conscience, which should have been to shew their sin, in order that they might flee from it, is extinguished: their love of sin is not known by them; the love of sin and belief of the
doctrine grow up together : the man has no love for holiness; he is fitted only for the society of sinful beings : his belief of a doctrine is found quite compatible with dislike of a holy God; and his miserable end is everlasting perdition.
The five Calvinistic points above enumerated contain two principal parts of delusion: first, they make God, and not man, the author of evil, and of misery to the creatures; and, secondly, they make Christianity nothing better than a system of fatalism. It is so easy to collect passages from the writings of the Reformers, as well as from those of modern Calvinistic divines, that it is needless to copy them here; especially as to do so would carry the appearance of an attack on individuals, rather than on a system, which is the only object we have in view. That which we are anxious to shew is, that there is nothing in the forms or doctrines of Protestantism, which may not become as destructive to the souls of men, as the forms and doctrines of Popery. That there are many pious persons in both communions is an assertion rather confirmatory than otherwise of our position: and of such, in both, it is equally true, that their piety is independent of, and not consequent on, the forms of their respective sects.
The five doctrines of Calvinism do not express, in the remotest degree, the character of God; yet to make this known is the end of all Revelation. Jesus Christ came into the world in order to tell out by act the character of His Father. The five doctrines declare, that a few individuals were predestinated to eternal life before the foundation of the world, are elected and effectually called to a knowledge of this purpose of God during some portion of their lives ; are irresistibly compelled by God to believe that Christ died for their sins, which justifies them in his sight; and that from this belief, and eternal life, nothing which they can do can make them fall away. These doctrines Melancthon very properly called fatum Stoicum et tabulas parcarum. In the first place, the statement is false; in the second place, if it were true, it is no more an exhibition of the character of Jehovah than of Jupiter; and in the third place, there is nothing in the statement, even if true and if fully believed, to make men happy, while there is much to make them hardened in pride and wickedness.
The hideous assertion, that God had decreed the eternal misery of any of his creatures, is so little maintained now, that it is not worth the trouble of refuting, and may be therefore passed by: but in the famous discussions in the Synod of Dort, while the different parties could not agree on some parts of the doctrine of reprobation, they were unanimous in affirming,
“ 1. That the moving cause of reprobation is the alone will of God, and not the sin of man, original or actual.