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rate, and contains a careful examination of all the important pagsages in the New Testament bearing on the subject, establishes, most conclusively and undeniably, the point, that compliance with the very positive apostolic injunctions would leave nothing but the faintest shade of a shadow of slavery, furnishing small justification of the things which were done in our sunny South in the years which are past.
In the essay on Christianity and the Turkish Power, we have a rapid and readable sketch of the rise of the Turkish Power in Europe at the beginning of the 14th century, and its growth till the appearance of the cloud in the North which burst out in the
great Russian war of our own day. The author's residence in Constantinople for a time, gave him advantages in the treatment of this subject, which he has turned to account. Among the remaining papers are delineations of Wycliffe, Adoniram Judson, and John Quincy Adams, all abounding in interesting incident and broad scriptural statement. The style of some of the papers is better adapted to the ear of a popular audience, for which they seem to have been originally prepared, than for the eye of a critic. The thought, for the same reason, perhaps, is more highly colored in some instances, than a severe philosophy would approve. 29.-Spiritualism Identical with Ancient Sorcery, New Testament
Demonology and Modern Witchcraft: With the Testimony of God and Man against it. By W. M’DONALD. pp. 212. New York: Carlton & Porter. 1866.
ANOTHER illustration of Solomon's saying, that there is nothing new under the sun. We think that the author fully establishes the startling proposition contained in his title-page. Modern Spiritualism is nothing more than the revival of an old imposture, and those who embrace it are either deliberate impostors, or the silly dupes of passion and fanaticism. This work was prepared at the request of the "Providence District Ministers' Association," and published under their sanction and earnest recommendation. It should be extensively circulated, and carefully read. Indeed, if circulated it is sure to be read, for the numerous facts which the author has collected and digested impart a thrilling interest to his volume. Is it not an exceedingly humiliatiug fact that in this day of boasted enlightenment, there is such a disposition to run after quacks and impostors of every description, and that true science and experience and wisdom are at such a ruinous discount? Can it be, that in highly educated Massachusetts, respectable people will turn their backs on a physician of thorough training and decided skill, and go to a woman who knows more when she is asleep than when she is awake?
30. - OTHER Books RECEIVED. Family Prayers. By the Rt. Rev. HENRY W. LEE, D.D., of Iowa. E. P. Dutton & Company. Brief, varied, devout, pertinent.
Silver Mining Regions of Colorado. By J. P. WHITNEY. Van
The Freedman's Third Reader. American Tract Society, Boston.
Cherry and Violet. A Tale of the Great Plague. By the Author of "Mary Powell.” M. W. Dodd. Old English life and people of two centuries ago, reproduced with close verisimilitude and charming naturalness. The account of the great plague and fire in London is very thrilling.
THE ROUND TABLE.
MONTHLY RELIGIOUS MAGAZINE. An article in the December number (1865) of the Monthly Religious Magazine, by one of its contributors, has attracted our attention, by the boldness and manifest inaccuracy of some of its statements. Our readers may thereby understand better what liberal men, claiming to be conservative, think and say about evangelical truth and efforts. It is understood that this Magazine was established as a conservative periodical to meet and counteract the tendencies of the liberal party to extremes. If the Conservatives will say such things, what will not the Extremists say?
“Protestantism,” we are told, “has ceased long since to make any gains from Roman Catholicism," and "Christianity itself has come to a dead stand in its conflict with Heathenism.” Now, are these broad and confident statements in accordance with facts ? No gains ! At a dead stand! Then the reports of the various benevolent associations, in this country and in Europe, for the spread of Christianity, are not trustworthy, for they tell of many converts made from the ranks both of Popery and Heathenism.
The Romanists have, by immigration particularly, greatly increased in the United States, but have they not diminished in the old world,
and in the Papal States of the new ? Are there no more Protestants in Italy, France, and Germany now than there were twenty, ten, or even five years ago ?
In regard to the inroads of Christianity upon Heathenism, the above statement is most palpably untrue. For evidence of this, look in whatever direction you will to fields of missionary effort, and no candid mind can refuse to acknowledge that the inroads are not only manifest but marked.
In the January number of the Missionary Herald, for this year, is this statement :
In 1839 there were fifty two missionary churches (American Board), with seven thousand three hundred and eleven members. In Massachusetts, three hundred seventy five churches (evangelical Congregational), with fifty two thousand eight hundred and twenty three members. During the next twenty five years, the additions to the missionary churches were fifty five thousand four hundred and eighty, to the Congregational churches of Massachusetts fifty five thousand seven hundred and sixty six. The
average number of the missionary churches for the whole time were less than one hundred and five; in Massachusetts four hundred and fifty two; the average yearly number of admissions to the missionary churches, twenty one ; to the Massachusetts churches not quite five. For the past twenty six years the comparison stands thus: Total number of additions by profession in Massachusetts, fifty-eight thousand seven hundred and ninety six, an annual average of about five to each church and five and a half to each pastor. In the missionary churches, total number fifty six thousand five hundred and thirty five, or twenty annually to each church, and fourteen and one half to each missionary."
Such statements as these, some more and some less encouraging, perhaps, are made by other Missionary Boards. Was the writer of the article in question ignorant of these facts? and if he was, was he justified in the statements he has put before the public?
Again, the writer says, “the institutions of religion are becoming more and more deserted.” Now, the reports of no evangelical denomination, at least in the loyal States, bear him out in this statement. Does his own (Unitarian) do it? He can best answer this question.
He asks, "What is the cause of this state of things?” He answers, “Not the lack of Christian effort, but the kind of Christianity we are using.” “One cause,” he asserts, “is the divisioa so long made between morality and piety, practical goodness and the salvation of the soul.” The meaning of this language we have in what follows. "In Protestant denominations, with all the stress that is laid on sincerity of heart and spirituality of worship, as superior to any
outward observance, there is the saine ignoring of the moral element as being of any Christian value.” Again, "Nine tenths of the pulpits of Protestant Christendom have been occupied for years in showing that personal merit has nothing to do with salvation, and that it is accomplished wholly through the merits of Christ.” Dr. Lyman Beecher is quoted as saying in a sermon, "The attention today has been very deep and solemn. In the morning I preached against morality.” Again, “The highest virtues, without the atoning blood of Christ, have been stigmatized as "filthy rags,'” and “How could we expect that such a presentation of Christianity could result otherwise than in a flood of immorality ?" Again, “The slurs which holy men have been casting for centuries at the value of morality and personal goodness are now bearing their legitimate fruit in a harvest of robbery, murder, and lust.”
Now, is it a fact that nine tenths, or one tenth of the evangelical pulpits have thus been occupied "for years," or at all? Is it true of even one such pulpit? Morality in the sense of meritorious works, as the ground of the sinner's justification before God, and of his salvation, has indeed been ignored by every evangelical Protestant pulpit, and for the very good and sufficient reason that the Scriptures utterly ignore it. "By the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified.” It is not "by works of righteousness.” It is mercy, grace that saves
"By grace ye are saved, through faith”-faith in Christ. "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” “There is salvation in no other.” Faith in him as "a propitiation for sin”—as an atoning Saviour-as "the Lamb of God, who,” by his sufferings and death “taketh away the sin of the world”—faith in Him as such a Saviour, not merely as a Teacher and Example, is the means by which the merits of his death accrue to us—are made a saving benefit to us. In this sense alone is it true that he “bore our sins and carried our sorrows,” and was made “a sin offering for us,” that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” Faith is the ground of hope, not morality—not human merit. And this faith is the gift of God. This is the sense, and the only sense in which morality is represented, by the evangelical pulpit, as useless and worthless, viz., that it is meritorious. This must have been known by the writer in the Magazine, when he penned the above quoted sentences, or if, with his evident acquaintance with evangelical writings and opinions, he did not know it, we have before us a very strange and inexplicable fact.
The evangelical pulpit teaches morality—the necessity of good works--pot as a basis, indeed, to build a hope upon, but as evidence
of a regenerated heart, and faith in Christ ; and the evangelical preacher always says to his hearers as an apostle said to his, “Show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works.” On no point is the evangelical pulpit more strenuous or its teachings more frequent and solemn. This practical preaching is, in too many evangelical pulpits, at the expense of a thorough presentation of some of the fundamental doctrines of the Gospel. The slur upon Dr. Beecher is unwarranted and ungenerous.
If the writer's allegations, in the quotations above made, are true, then evangelical congregations and even churches might fairly be supposed to be made up of the worst portions of society, because they constantly hear this demoralizing evangelical preaching; and the non-evangelical congregations and churches, of people the most pure and virtuous, because they hear the preaching which repudiates evangelical sentiment altogether, and especially the doctrine of salvation by grace through an atoning Redeemer, with its necessarily affiliating doctrines. But do these latter congregations and churches sustain and manifest an elevation and purity in morals so far above their evangelical neighbors ? Evangelical missions are asserted to be a failure. Have unevangelical missions accomplished more, either at home or abroad, among Catholics or the heathen?
Another cause of the present demoralized state of society, or of "the loss of religious power” in it, this writer avers is "clinging to the old formularies of Theology.” This cause, however, is tantamount to the preceding, which was the preaching of the evangelical doctrines. But these doctrines being the doctrines of the formularies in question, the latter must of course produce the effects of the former. The writer's main object, however, under this head of discussion, seems to have been rather to introduce statements in regard to the late National Council than for any other other purpose. The old Confessions and Platforms of the Synods of 1648 and 1680 are referred to, and some of the offensive and unpopular doctrines of these named. Then comes the inquiry with a note of astonishment, “These doctrines the substance of our Christian Faith! How would it be possible to strike a more deadly blow against all vital religion than by such an affirmation?" "How could we expect that such a presentation of Christianity could result otherwise than in a flood of immorality?" "In every thing else," he continues, "there has been advancement, yet these five hundred members of the Council tell us that, in the midst of all this progress, there is one branch of knowledge which has stood absolutely still--that Theology, the noblest and sublimest of them all, has forgotten no mistakes and learned no truths.”