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sets aside the literal meaning of the The object of this paper is not to word day, and gives it the meaning pronounce a judgment on these difof extended and undefined duration. ferent theories of creation. My pur
4. Dr. McCausland's Theory, pose is to describe and not to adjuwhich takes up Hugh Miller's and dicate. I shall leave this summary applies it to the six days of the view of the thoughts of many minds creation as well as to the three in on this interesting subject to the which vegetables, reptiles, and ani- thoughtful attention of my readers. mals were created.
RELIGIOUS CHARACTER: THE MEANS AND HINDRANCES
OF ITS GROWTH.
BY REV. E. W. CANTRELL.
Nothing can be more important than Religious character does not apply religious growth, since our present hap- exclusively either to the inner or the piness and usefulness, and our future outer man. It includes both. The destiny, depend upon it. Our present two great requisites in the present and future do not rest entirely with religious economy are faith and works, ourselves—God renders to us super- the fruit and evidence of faith. Those natural assistance, or we could not outward moral works which, with resoescape from the consequences of sin- lute determination, can be performed but they depend upon the religious even when the heart is not right, may state which, with the assistance given secure acquittal in the sight of men, by God, we attain. If misery is a con- but not in the sight of God.
“ Faith, sequence of moral perversion, and joy if it hath not works, is dead, being the fruit of moral rectitude, the nearer alone." Character includes both the we get to a right inoral state in this inner and the outer life. But the outer world, the more shall we possess of at life comes from within; hence religious least the highest species of joy which character is ruled by the inward state, can dwell within the human breast. and corresponds to it. Solomon 'said, We are not to live unto ourselves; we “Keep thy heart with all diligence, for are to live for the good of men and the out of it are the issues of life.” Our glory of God. The world is a field of Saviour has taught 118 that from within, religious labour. Our life is to be spent out of the heart, all evil proceeds. The in holy toil. Our work is raising our heart is the seat of moral as of physical fellow-creatures from a state of cor- life. The whole religious character ruption to a state of purity; and the depends upon the heart, and the growth nearer we get to a state of perfect of religious character depends upon the purity ourselves the more effective will culture of the heart. If the inward our influence and labours be in raising religious state is improving, religious others. We know, too, that without character is growing. holiness we cannot see God. A right Amongst the MEANS of religious moral state is necessary to fit us for growth a serious and earnest attention to the society, the joys, and the employ- religious exercises may be mentioned. ments of heaven. We may reasonably All religious exercises are means of suppose that, just as one star differs growth;. private devotions are, perfrom another star in glory, so a differ- haps, the most inportant. Daily medience will exist between glorified saints, tation and prayer nourish religious life. and that difference will be a conse- The Word of God is food for the soul, quence of the difference in their reli
and prayer is its native atmosphere. gious state in this world. The more Physical life cannot be maintained and fully religious character is developed, developed without food and air ; neither the greater will be our joy and useful- can religious character grow without ness here, and the greater will be our meditation and prayer.
That these glory hereafter.
exercises may be effective the attenwill grow:
tion given to them must be serious and Faults may be overlooked for a time, earnest. It may be feared that in
but they cannot be always overlooked. many cases private and family, as well The longer they are passed over the as public devotions, are mere forms. more difficult will it be to eradicate The Word of God may be passed over them. If we are vigilant and faithwith a mere cursory perusal, and a ful in self-examination, errors will be string of words and sentences may traced; against them we can guard, constitute the professed devotional ex- and from them we can supplicate deercise. Such a formal attention to liverance. Thus religious character religious exercises can be of no avail. It is only when we closely meditate on Watchfulness is another ineans of God's word that we can derive nourish- religious growth. Christ has told us ment from its stores, and the Holy to watch and pray. Growth of reliSpirit can apply it to the development gious character requires not only the of our piety. Prayers which come eradication of evil and the developfrom the heart are the only prayers ment of good which already exist in which God hears and answers; conse- the heart, but also defence against the quently if prayer proceeds only from encroachments of sin. There are enethe lips, no blessings will be bestowed mies of religion in our own passions, in answer to it. The influence which and in the inducements which the attends real devotion produces a holy world presents.
The author of evil effect upon us.
The intercourse we employs a varied and subtle agency to hold with God intensifies religious feel- attack the heart and lead it captive. ings, and matures religious character. Against attacks we must watch, so In religious exercises, therefore, the that on the approach of temptation we thoughts should be fixed and the spirit may prepare to defend ourselves. We sbould be devout.
often fall into sin almost unconsciously. Vigilant and faithful self-examination Sometimes temptations come upon us is another means of religious growth. with a sudden and irresistible force. Self-examination assists prayer. Prayer If we watch we shall not be led into is irksome and formal when it is vague sin unconsciously, and for what would and indefinite. It is difficult to be otherwise be an irresistible attack we earnest in giving utterance to a few shall be prepared. By this means the general requests which, from their deadening influence which sin produces frequent repetition, have become so on religious character will be avoided. familiar that they form a part of every Social intercourse may be made a prayer whether appropriate to the time means of religious growth. Interand circumstances or not. By self- course with our fellow-creatures proexamination we become conscious of duces an important effect upon our errors and needs; and if we approach character. If two hold frequent conthe throne of grace to ask for deliver- verse they become assimilated, and ance from known errors and for a sup- their character becomes better or worse ply of blessings which we feel that we according to the predominance of virneed, we can more easily enter into tue or vice. Sometimes a remarkable the spirit of the exercise. Hence self- change is produced in the whole characexamination should come before prayer. ter of a man by a change of society. Self-examination assists us in guarding Association with others helps to mould against sin. If we know our failing our character. If, in our social interand deficiencies we can more easily course, there is a due proportion of the guarded against the one and supply religious element, it will foster religious the other. Self-examination should be growth. It will produce a more subvigilant. Evil is subtle, so that if we stantial and lasting effect than any are not vigilant it may creep upon 118 other means besides fellowship with unawares. Self-examination should be God. The religions element is often faithful. We are apt to exaggerate neglected in general intercourse. It is our virtues and overlook our faults. confined too much to the sanctuary, or Self-accusation is painful; hence, for at least to those seasons which are the sake of sparing our feelings, we specially set apart for religions exermay deal treacherously with ourselves.
The converse of Chrietians
frequently degenerates into ordinary arise from his circumstances, or from gossip. We may and should converse the peculiarities of his physical, menon all profitable and interesting sub- tal, and moral cast. Close observation jects, but religion ought not to be over- will trace these. But some hindrances looked. If we introduced this element are general. more frequently into conversation, un- One of these is irregularity in attenbosomed our difficulties, trials, tempta- tion to religious exercises. Attention to tions, and joys, the mutual sympathy religious exercises has been mentioned which would be awakened, and the as a means of growth. If the attenmutual assistance which would be ren- tion given to them is irregular, the dered, would add greatly to the rapidity irregularity counterbalances the effect of our religious growth.
which the exercises theinselves should Sanctification of all engagements and produce. We need fresh strength conevents is another means of religious tinually, and the omission of one exergrowth. Religion should be our chief cise which procures strength gives
It should not be lost sight advantage to opposing influences. The of amidst the bustle and excitement of desire to omit any religious exercise . secular business. All the events and arises from carelessness, and the omistransactions of life produce an effect sion fosters a spirit of carelessness. upon character. Everything that we The soul, like the body, requires do without regard to religion fosters regular support. If we are fitful in a spirit of carelessness in regard to taking support for the soul, instead of it. Every transaction in which we promoting spiritual health and strength, are guided by religious principles it causes languor and weakness. Regustrengthens the hold of those principles lar attention should be given to all upon our minds. If we act habitually religious exercises, especially private according to these principles, religious devotions. Irregularity in regard to feelings will become more intense, and time must occur now and then, parreact upon our outward conduct. We ticularly in some cases; but the exershould keep religion always before our cises should never be omitted, and as minds, and make every event subser- far as possible the same parts of the vient to the development of piety. day should be occupied.
Living continually under a sense of Another hindrance to religious growth God's presence is another means of is a want of consistency in discharging religious growth. God is invisible to religious duties. There are those who human eyes, and in consequence of are very scrupulous in regard to some His invisibility we are apt to forget religious duties, but readily pass over that He takes cognizance of our deeds. others. For instance, some, looking We give most earnest attention to upon baptism as non-essential, neglect that part of religious life which is open it, although they admit it to be a duty. to the gaze of the world. Secret sins If we treat any religious duty lightly, do not afflict us with nearly so much it increases carelessness. Religion is remorse as those that are known to pot simply a round of duties, some of others. Religion has relation both to greater importance and others of less, God and men, but chiefly to God. It but also an inward state ; hence if we is to God that we are responsible, and allow ourselves to omit one, even if it no thought, feeling, or action, can be appears upessential, such an omission hidden from Him. Under a sense of blunts religious feelings and encourages His presence we should always live. disregard to the claims of God. If we A perpetual consciousness of the pre- disregard the claims of God in relation sence of Him to whom we are respon- to little things, we shall soon disregard sible, will produce reverent feelings, them in relation to greater things. It stimulate to obedience, and be a safe- is only by acting with a conscientious guard against sin both in private and regard to all the requirements of God public life.
that we can promote religious growth. There are many HINDRANCES to
Another hindrance is indulgence in the growth of religious character. practices which, although not positively Nearly every one has some hindrances sinful, are associated with sin. There peculiar to himself-hindrances which are practices which are associated in
the mind with sin, and, if indulged in, and mental powers, so exercise develops almost invariably lead to sin. Some- religious character. Inactivity makes times such associations are peculiar to life feeble and languid. It is itself individual minds. For instance, an weakening. Even if food is taken, it amusement, innocent in itself, may be cannot properly accomplish its design associated with positive wickedness, as without activity. But inactivity imthe exercise of the bowling-green with pairs the appetite, so that little food the tavern and intemperance, or the can be taken. So in regard to religious card-table with gambling. These character. We may partake of the things are not necessarily associated, stores of spiritual nourishment, but if yet they have been, and this associa- are inactive they will not be tion springs up in the human mind. digested.
are inactive the Association exerts a powerful influ- spiritual appetite will soon be lost. ence, and in some instances indulgence Examples show that those who are in innocent amusements may lead to active enjoy the greatest share of the sins with which they have been religious life, and that those who are connected. This is not the case with inactive gradually lose their relish for all, but it is with some, and they at spiritual things. least should refrain from them. Such Another hindrance is substituting things are lawful, but not expedient. outward activity for personal culture. Temptations presented by positive sin Activity is a means by which religious are sufficient, without the additional growth may be promoted; but there influence of association.
may be activity without the progresAnother hindrance is pusillanimity in sive culture of the heart, and even relation to hostile influences. There are without piety. Young and inexpethose who fear to take a bold stand rienced Christians especially are in against the enemies of religion. Some danger of making this substitution. fear to acknowledge themselves Chris- The Christian religion is eminently a tians. Fear lest they should disgrace religion of the heart.
Service renthe profession deters them. Such dered to God, to be acceptable, must pnsillanimity causes
spring from a principle of love. AcFirmness and courage will conquer tivity will not mature religious characwhere timidity will be conquered. An ter unless it is the outflow of the enemy who presents a bold front does inner life. If the cultivation of the not expose himself to greater danger, heart is neglected, nothing can supply but a wakens fear in the breast of his its place. The inward spiritual state opponent. One who is shrinking and must have the chief attention, and if timid awakens courage in his oppo- that is improving, the outer life will nent. If we are shrinking, wavering, correspond to it. timid, when we meet with spiritual These are some of the means and foes, we shall be unmanned, and their hindrances of religious growth. There attacks will come with double force. are others which are general or pecuIf we expect to be overcome we are liar to certain classes. If the means sure to be overcome. We should take are nised and hindrances are avoided, a firm stand, and not dally with religious character must grow. As temptations, but be determined to the spiritual is infinitely more imporresist them. If we take such a stand, tant than the temporal, as the service instead of causing us to disgrace our of God has greater claims upon us than profession, it will be a means of main- any secular
engagements, as the future taining our position and honouring our world is in every respect superior to profession. “A tone of humility be- the present world, it behoves us to use comes us when we approach to God, a all means which will promote spiritual tone of command when we come in growth, qualify us for the service of contact with foes."
God, and prepare us for the inheritance Another hindrance is religious inac- of the saints in light. tivity. Exercise develops the physical
THE DIVINITY OF OUR LORD AND
SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST. By H. B. Liddon, M.A. The Bampton Lectures for 1866. If it were possible and proper to express in writing the admiration of this book which the reading of it excited, we should be in danger of pronouncing a panegyric which all who have not read it, and probably also which some who have, might think enthusiastic and extravagant. For good reasons, whether because the theme is somewhat in our own line of things, because of an earnest longing for a fresher and fuller treatise upon it than we have for a long time seen, or from the expectation of something unusually excellent which had been raised by a previous publication from the same author, we hailed the appearance of this bulky volume; and we are in no respect disappointed with it. It is true that there is just a little of the chaff of sacramentalism in it—but only a little as compared with what was to be looked for in one so closely allied to the ritualistic Bishop of Salisbury. Its pages, amounting in number to between seven and eight hundred, are pregoant with the precious grain of divine truth, gathered from the field of Holy Scripture. As a contribution to theological literature, we rate it at the very highest value; because while it collects the true testimonies in support of our Lord's divinity, it deals intelligently, and as we think conclusively, with the oppugners of the great doctrine, from the days of Arius to the present time. We are aware that the majority of our readers are not addicted to theological studies, and therefore we shall not occupy our space with even an analysis of these noble lectures. It is hoped that our ministers will be able either to make them their own property by purchase, or to procure the reading of them from the libraries or book societies to which they subscribe. But to give those who may have no means whatever of making their acquaintance with the book a
glimpse of its character, we append a quotation from the closing lecture, entitled, “ Consequences of the Doctrine of Christ's Divinity." After vindicating “inferential theology" against the objections of those who disparage it, Mr. Liddon says:
“ It is natural for an earnest man to ask himself, If I believe in Christ's divinity, what does this belief involve? Is it possible that such a faith can be a cold abstraction, having a real influence on my daily life of thought and action ? If this great doctrine be true, is there not still something to be done when I am satisfied of its truth, besides proving it? Can it be other than a practical folly to have ascertained the truth that Jesus is God, and then to consign so momentous a conclusion to a respectful oblivion, in some obscure corner of my thoughts, as if it were a well-bound but disused book, that could only ornament the shelves of a library? Must I not enshrine it in the very centre of my soul's life? Must I not contemplate it, nay, if it may be, penetrate and feed on it, by a reiterated contemplation, that it may illuminate and sustain and transfigure my inward being? Must I not be reasonably anxious till the great conviction shall have moulded all else that it can bear on, or that can bear on it-all that I hold in any degree for religious truth? Must not such a faith at last radiate through my every thought ? Must it not supply with a new and deeper motive my every action ? If Jesus, who loved and died and rose again for me, be God, can my duties to Him end with a bare confession of His divinity ? Will not the significance of His life and death, will not the obligativeness of His commands, will not the nature and reality of His promises and gifts, be felt to have a new and deeper meaning, when I contemplate them in the light of this glorious truth ? Must not all which the Divine Christ blesses and sanc. tions have in some sense the virtue of His divinity ?
My brethren, you are right: the doctrine of Christ's Godhead is, both in tbe sphere of belief, and in that of morals, as fruitful and impervious as you anticipate. St. Paul makes the doctrine the premiss of the largest consequences, the warrant of the most unbounded expectations : • He that spared not His own Son, but delivered