« ZurückWeiter »
life, he will naturally and necessarily perform spiritual actions—he will be a law to himself.
4. Health is a reality, not a semblance ; it is truth, and not fiction ; it is necessary to action—it is the enjoyment of life. Health is seen in the step, it speaks in the eye, it blooms on the cheek, it is visible in the action, it gives vigour to the nerve, strength to the muscle, and buoyancy to the spirit. Life in action is health, and spiritual life cannot be hid. Spiritual health is visible in the walk, in the conversation, in the temper and spirit of the man; it cannot be concealed any more than the beauty of spring, and the glory of summer. It is life in full vigour and play, it is life in all its enjoyment, it is the harmony, the music of the heart.
5. Health is the entire harmony of all the powers of the body, melody is the concord of all sweet sounds. Spiritual health is the music of the soul, the melody of the heart, the blending, the unison of the graces of the Spirit,-all, like so many choristers, sustaining their different parts, and mingling their voices in one song. Uninterrupted health is perfection. The spirits before the throne are perfect, their hearts never condemn them; there are no irregular desires, no conflict between antagonist powers; peace is unbroken, the serenity of the mind is undisturbed ; love is necessary to their existence, and obedience is blessedness—their hearts do not condemn them, and they have confidence towards God.
INFERENCES.— If the soul be not in a healthy state, its powers will be paralysed. There will be no longer the relish for spiritual things, the hungering and thirsting after righteousness. The word will lose its freshness, the sanctuary its attractions, the throne of grace its value. Love will grow cold, the light will burn dimly, first works will be forgotten, gratification will be sought in the world, a diseased heart will cause us to turn aside. Reader, is the health of your soul impaired ? - There is a balm in Gilead.
In this world there are many interruptions to our spiritual health. We should do well to bear in mind, that our health can only be maintained by spiritual means. There must be spiritual influence continually strengthening and renewing the soul, there must be the actings of faith on Christ. The spiritual man must " keep his body in subjection” if the health of the soul is to be preserved. He must “exercise himself” if he would maintain “a conscience void of offence.” He must “ keep his heart with all diligence,” since out of it are “the issues of life.”
DESOLATION OF JUDEA,
O'ER Israel's desolated plains
THE REFORMATION BY LUTHER.
How bright a star that was which did appear
When Luther rose and shone upon our world !
When popish darkness from her throne was hurled,
And maddened Superstition's lip upcurled
To see Truth's banner once again unfurled,
Than that of any now before our eyes ;
That from its light and heat it gained supplies.
E. F. H.
Historical Memorials relating to the Independents or Congregationalists, from their Rise to the Restoration of the Monarchy, 1660. By Benjamin Hanbury. Vol. III. pp. 652. London: Fisher, Son, and Co. 1844.
The doctrine of toleration may now fairly be said to have become a popular doctrine in Great Britain. It has worked itself thoroughly into the fabric of our constitution ; and though it has not yet annihilated all the infractions upon perfect liberty of conscience which ancient usage and impolitic legislation had sanctioned, still it has been gradually diminishing and circumscribing them, and will, no doubt, ultimately place all in the possession of equal rights, and deprive them of the power of committing any social or civil wrong against the just claims of conscience. The progress that has been made through tedious centuries of conflict, controversy, and suffering, inspires hope for the future, and teaches all the friends of human liberty and mental independence never to despair. The past history of Great Britain is emblazoned more by the achievements of toleration than by those of arts and arms.
Even the advancement of civilisation and commerce would be graceless and comfortless, if men could not enjoy freedom of speech and liberty of religion : in fact, neither commerce nor civilisation could have reached their present eminence, if the spirit of freedom had not levelled the proud and rugged obstructions that had so long impeded their progress. He, however, who enjoys the comforts of transit by the quick and easy railroad, ill deserves the accommodation, if he overlooks the toil and the skill that prepared it, by levelling hills and cutting through rocks. Other men have laboured, and we have entered into their labours, is especially true of the civil and religious liberty which has been attained. In the eagerness to reach the summit which yet shines at a distance before us, we must neither forego past acquisitions nor overlook our obligations to those by whose patience, wisdom, and heroism, we have been placed where we now are. The inspiring examples of all that is great in thought and in action, by which the onward march of liberty is still to be sustained, must be drawn from history. The great principles by which the rights of human nature are to be maintained against the assumptions both of regal and ecclesiastical tyranny, are the precious heir-loom to be handed down from generation to generation, till they eradicate every vestige of oppression, and confer upon mankind as much of rational liberty and social happiness as can be fairly expected on this side immortality. The recognition of those principles to the greatest possible extent among our countrymen, forms the safeguard of all that is valuable in the social state. If they should fall into neglect, bigotry, oppression, and arbitrary power, would revive and enslave us again. Human nature is unchanged; rulers in church and state are essentially the same as in the darkest ages of mental enslavement. They will stretch their power if the people will allow it; and they will bear compression to an extraordinary degree : only let the external force overpower the elasticity of the spring; but it must be kept on, or that elasticity will again show itself.
Since the age of our grand national struggles for liberty, none has occurred so seriously threatening to that sacred cause as the present. The growth of the passion for power over conscience, which has been going on in the Established Church, has been partly overlooked, partly discredited. The mass of the nation is not yet awake to the perils which beset our religious liberty. It is owing to the apathy and repose of its friends, that its foes, and then the public servants, have dared to set up their standard and avow their hatred. Impunity has emboldened the leaders to cast around them the most daring defiances, and to denounce in good set terms that liberty of conscience so hardly won by our forefathers. The strange sight has appeared of learned and able advocates for persecution, in a church that had proclaimed itself the friend of toleration, before a state that has established it by law, and under a monarch whose ancestors owe their elevation to its victories. Altogether it is a singular position in which the cause of religious liberty is now placed in these realms. The Catholics, its uniform denouncers in past ages, are its advocates ; political Romanists are all, in words at least, its devoted friends ; while a large, and, we fear, growing body of English Protestant clergymen, who ought to be its advocates, are foremost in decrying it ; yet, if they should themselves be coerced in their opinions by the power of the state, they would quickly allege that they were persecuted, and set up a claim for toleration. They might think it hard to be denied the liberty which they have themselves refused to others. But, undoubtedly, they have sanctioned a principle, in proclaiming the right of the magistrate to suppress religious error, which only needs to be employed against themselves, to open their eyes to its enormity. The fact, however, is of grave import, that Puseyism is essentially intolerant ; and much that amounts not to Puseyism in the church is of the same pestilent character : so that it may be deemed unquestionable, that an overpowering majority of the national clergy do in their hearts detest this religious liberty : a large body of the aristocracy sympathise with
them--the greatest proportion of our legislators are neither acquainted with its history nor its theory; and most probably not one in ten of them in either house ever looked into Locke's Essay; and as to the Roman Catholic friends of religious liberty, it must be obvious to the whole world, that they are such from necessity and not from free choice. The bulwark of the cause is exclusively found in the dissenting sects—where it always has been. Happily for the nation, these sects are more numerous and more combined in the cause than they
But for them—and we might even say but for one of them, as Mr. Hanbury's Memorials abundantly show—the cause had in former days been lost. The Congregationalists have the unquestionable honour of being the only party in the state, who, when they enjoyed the opportunity of securing accommodation and immunity for their own principles, if they would have yielded to the establishment of Presbyterianism, nobly insisted upon the unrestricted principle of universal toleration, and by their magnanimity defeated all the designs of its enemies, and conferred a boon mpon future generations which can never be forgotten.
The three volumes of Memorials which Mr. Hanbury has now completed, are a monument alike to the perseverance of the author and the majesty of the cause to which his labours were devoted. Under the auspices of the Congregational Union he commenced the undertaking, which he has diligently pursued through many years of arduous research, and which he has been permitted to bring to a close. The collections which he has made from the controversies of past ages touching the cause of religious freedom, are altogether unparalleled, and such as to delight and astonish even those who with himself are given to such researches.
His mode is to lay before his readers extracts from the most material parts of the works of authors on both sides of the great question of liberty. The extracts given are not mere samples, but, in most instances, contain the marrow of the argument. Some of these extracts are long, and, to many readers, will appear tedious ; but they are highly important as documentary evidence of the principles maintained, and form the vouchers for the statements made by the author. The work is, in fact, an analysis, with copious extracts, of the great controversy for religious liberty, begun in this country by the Independents, carried on with growing ability and success, till crowned at last with that triumph, the fruits of which we have long enjoyed, and which we would fain hope is never to be endangered.
The reader must not expect to find this a continuous history of a principle or a doctrine, but a review of a protracted controversy, interwoven with our national history, and essential to a right understanding of some of the most momentous events that have ever occurred in any civilised nation. Mr. Hanbury has not taken his