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no fault to find with the translation; but yet it might mitigate presumptuous.confidence to observe, that, according to the letter, livery might have been translated in both places “ wind," or in both places « spirit.” The principal thing for us to observe is, that whether we suppose virtue to arise merely from human nature, or to be inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, it is, like the air, invisible to man, and known only by its effects. :
. 3. Let us notice, in the third place, that part of our Lord's discourse which is contained in the Toth verse. « Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, (a Rabbi) and knowest not these things ?” That is, according to us, a candid and unprejudiced student of the Jewish Prophecies might have foreseen, that the children of Abraham must have, in order to enter into the kingdom of the Messiah, a fresh origin, a new generation, a new birth ; and that of a moral or spiritual nature. Or, in other words, that the ceremonial and carnal religion of Moses was always to be superseded by a religion which required chiefly purity of heart. In order to see this we need only read Jeremiah xxxi. 31-37: Indeed the 33d verse may suffice in this place. “ But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the House of Israel, after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my Law in their INWARD parts, and write it in their HEARTS; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.” The marginal references in our Bible point out some parallel passages; but I do not perceive that they mention the two places in which the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews quotes this prophe. cy in argument. Yet surely such quotation is very important. The expressions in the Epistle are . I will make a new.covenant"-" a better covenant"_" not according to the covenant that I made with their Fathers” I will put my Laws into their MIND, and write them in (or upon their HEARTS.” See Hebr. viii. 6, &c. and chap. x. 15, &c.-Jeremiah also says, xxxii. 40. “I will make an EVERLASTING covenant with them”.- I will put my fear in their 'HEARTS.” To members of the Church of England it may be proper to mention here an expression of their 7th article. " They are not to be heard, which feign that the old Fathers did look only for transitory promises.” “ The old Fathers” mean the Patriarchs, and other eminent men recorded in the Old Testament. The new religion written in the hearts and
minds, minds, may be opposed to any cardinal ordinances; but perhaps most particularly to the laws engraven on the tables given from mount Sinai. And the Mosaic law may be conceived to be written or marked on the bodies of all those who have received the rite of Circumcision. Moreover, that Religion might be foreseen to be only temporary which could not be universal; and the attendance at Jerusalem required by the Mosaic law could not be performed by all mankind. If any one says that, supposing the Jewish religion to spread, allowances would be made for non-attendance at Jerusalem in cases of necessity; the answer is, such cases of necessity would become too numerous to suit our idea of cases so called; the exceptions would be incalculably more in number than the acts of obedience to the general rule. We conclude, therefore, that, according to our notion of our Saviour's meaning, there was sufficient ground for reprehending an eminent Jewish Rabbi because he had not been prepared, by study of the Old Testament, for the publication of a new, and moral or spiritual religion. by the Messiah. 4. I know not that it will be needful to take very particular notice of any more of our Saviour's discourse, except what is contained in the eleventh and twelfth verses of the chapter before us. “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, we speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things f"— The argument used by our blessed Lord, according to the best judgment which I am able to form of it, is this: You are willing to acknowledge that I am “a teacher come from God;’ in consequence you will expect me to reveal something heavenly; something hitherto unknown to man; but before you indulge such expectations, let me ask, do you shew (that is, do you, Nicodemus, and other Rabbis, shew) that you are properly disposed and qualified to receive Revelation ? are you duly prepared for such a blessing f have you made all the use in your power of such teaching as has been already afforded you? might not you, from your own Prophets, as I have just now intimated, have thought that reasonable. and probable, which you now think strange and incredible —Believe me, this is no trifling deficiency! God re- - weals. veals his will by degrees: every step is preparatory to the next; and that very preparation is the most irresistible proof that the whole is conducted by divine wisdom. If any preparatory step be neglected, it occasions a degree of confusion to be thrown over all that follows, and greatly obstructs the execution of the all-wise measures of our heavenly Governor. Wonder not, therefore, that I say, “Verily, verily”—that I address you with earnestness and vehemence, and endeavour to press the argument upon you with great energy: you must first make a right use of every information already given you, before you can have any just ground to expect such heavenly knowledge as your pride tempts you to enquire after, at the same time that it makes you overlook God's most wise manner of conveying revelation gradually. Those who allow what has been now said to express something of our Saviour's argument, will also allow that argument to be very forcible;—but they may urge, that it cannot be applicable to support our interpretation of his declaration about being born again, unless we can shew, that being born again, in our sense, may be reckoned amongst “earthly things.” This, however, will not, I apprehend, occasion any great difficulty. A part of mankind had the Mosaic religion given to them in order to draw them from idolatry; and were subjected to a strictly ceremonial worship, in order to keep them separated from paganism; their attention was confined to one spiritual Deity, in order that they might gradually prepare the world for the coming of the Messiah, who should break down all partitions between the Jews and other nations; and enjoin a moral or spiritual worship and conduct, which, if his ordinances should be duly observed, would continually improve mankind, and by degrees Ricrease their happiness beyond all assignable limits. Surely these things are as much earthly as any other things, and as capable of human testimony; civil governments themselves are not more so. Different forms of civil government are all, in some sense, “ordained “of God.” (Rom. xiii. 1.) They are all originally constituted by the author of our nature, as much as embassies of Prophets and Apostles are ordained by the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. If nothing were earthly but what has no concern with heaven, nothing whatever could be so denominated. There is nothing from which the Deity can be excluded. “There is no power but
of God.” Rom. xiii.i..But what shall we say of an extraordinary action of the Deity on the mind of an individual? can that be reckoned amongst “earthly things ?** amongst such things as can be proved by testimony? If not, the famous declaration of our Lord, relative to being born again, cannot possibly mean such regeneration, or conversion, as some of our Christian brethren, of the sort rather tending towards enthusiasın, have been desirous to teach.
If we pursue Jesus's discourse to Nicodemus farther, we come to more direct intimations that Nicodemus might have sufficient reason for believing in Jesus, not only as “ a teacher come from God," but as the very Messiah : and thus what is properly our subject, the Jews being born again, or entering on the spiritual kingdom of Christ, gradually disappears; though virtue is still inculcated. Nevertheless an attentive review of our Lord's whole discourse makes it seem intended to inspire Nicodemus with humility; to put him in a right train; to' make him weigh the real merits of different sorts of religious worship; and to afford him matter for deep reflexion on the dispensations of God. Its immediate effect we are not told, but we find the Rabbi desiring to ho. nour our Lord. John xix. 38, 39.
And now, shall an obscure intimation, thrown out in figurative and almost enigmatical terms, under allusions belonging exclusively to Judaism, adapted to excite deep reflexion in the mind of a learned and eminent Jew, of one puffed up with high notions of his descent, his religion, and his station ; in the mind of a Jew coming for the first time to enquire about the mission of an humble teacher ;-an intimation describing only the outlines, or general characteristics, of the Jewish and Christian Dispensations, when compared ;shall such an intimation be continually pressed, without any diffidence, any sense of its obscurity, on ordinary Christians, who have already been baptized; who have always professed Christianity, who have no pride in patriarchal ancestors, no partiality for Judaisrn ; and shall it be pressed as if it were a plain, practical principle, as plain as any cominandıent of the Decalogue, on persons of the meanest capacities; pressed as if it were one to be constantly referred to, as the ground of their conduct, and the foundation of all their hopes ? and that without retaining any idea of the Judaisın to which it belongs? That this should
be done, is to be matter of astoaisament, especially when I consider by whom it is done. I know very well that the vulgar jumble all things together which they meet with in Seriptare, without dusunetoa of time, place, custom, character, &e. ja any enthusiastic or see perstitious hodge-podge that bppens to suit their taste; but that persons who are able to diseriminate nicely in other matters, should so confound things in religion, which are perfectly heterogeneous, is most wondertal! I speak of persons who are greatly advanced in science and literature; who are able to speak in the Senate with propriety and eloquence; who have sagacity to discover fallacies in subjects not connected with religion, almost intuitively. To what can we ascribe such inconsistency, but to the secret operation of some passion of some de. vout affections in a state of perversion and excess.
(To be continued.)
ON THE BURIAL SERVICE.
TO THE EDITORS OF THE ORTHODOX CHURCHNAN'S
blished Church of England that reverence and respect due to their sacred character, and wishing to vindicate them from the charge of an unfecling and an un due erercise of power, with which their insidious enemies are artfully attempting to load them; I should feel myself honoured, if your valuable and learned correspondent, Mr. Pearson, or any other gentleman, would favour me with his opinion upon this point: Whether • Minister is authorized in refusing to read the Burial Serm vice over the corpse of a criminal who has suffered arecution?
This appears to me a very nice point. For iny own part, I must conless, that upon the mere point of humamity, I should consider my refusal as unchristian, un