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and yet one remained a decided Calvinist, the other an equally decided Arminian. Admitting however such a fact as this, is it at all contradictory to the positions I have attempted to advance, or in the least calculated to support the opposite conclusion of Mr. Faber? Men are imperfect in the present world. Granting, then, that both these individuals were “ taught of God," as to essential and necessary truth, yet as to the matter in question, even supposing both might have prayed with sincerity to be led into all truth, how can we tell but that one of them might not have simply depended upon divine teaching as to this particular; or might have searched the word of God partially, without examining the whole evidence, or without fully comparing one with another the different passages which bear upon it; or might have allowed bias, or prejudice, or preconceived opinion, to entangle him in the research, so that he did not receive with meekness and docility the simple and plain statements of the word of God? Now if this be the case, inasmuch as God bestows his blessings, as we have seen, through the intervention of appointed means; so that we may not expect the supply of the want, merely by praying for it, without using the means he has prescribed and put within our reach, the individual in question might yet have failed to attain, as to this particular, the object of this pursuit. If again this is possible in the case of one of the two individuals in question, it is so also in a greater or lesser degree in that of both; so that the fact might have been, that neither of them had seized the exact meaning of what God has revealed, and designed that his people should understand, upon the point involved in this question. And such a result is, in an especial degree, probable, if one or both were engaged in controversial writing or dispute, which has an insensible but most lamentable influence, in diverting the mind from the prescribed method of arriving at truth, So far then is the discrepancy of opinion to which Mr. Faber alludes, from being the result of adhering to this method, that it after all arises simply from the neglect of it.
It is true Mr. Faber expresses himself in such language as would seem to imply that those who believe that the Holy Spirit's teaching is promised in answer to prayer, are necessarily neglectful of any means whereby it may be communicated. He speaks of a pious man assuring us that he has made the meaning of Scripture upon a particular subject, a matter of prayer, and that he has then risen from his knees internally convinced of the truth of his own system : he speaks of two men of piety making the same subject a matter of prayer, and then one forthwith“ becoming a decided Calvinist,” whilst the other “ rises from his devotions a sincere Arminian.” But does he really imagine that such men as those to whom he alludes-Augustine, Joseph Milner, and others, believed that the teaching of the Spirit was to be attained by prayer alone, without any examination of the word of God. If not, why use these expressions merely, as it would seem, ad captandum ? That enthusiasts have existed, who have professed to make divine teaching a subject of prayer, and then, without any “ searching” of the word of God, have imagined that the first interpretation which their own wayward fancy suggested was the very inspiration of the Spirit, is most true. But how does this in the least prove that the promised illumination of the Spirit is not intellectual but moral ? Mr. Faber must surely be well aware that all sober-minded Christians, who maintain that the teaching of the Spirit
of God is promised in answer to prayer, cqually maintain the necessity of such an investigation of the word of God as that which I have described, as the only medium through which it is conveyed.
I trust, sir, I shall not be considered as wishing in the least to undervalue that subordinate aid which human writings may be admitted to afford, in the explanation of the divine records; which, when used in its place, may be doubtless of essential benefit, and which, conjoined with oral instruction, we may consider as appointed by God, for the “edifying of the body of Christ;" but I beg to inquire whether the foregoing opinions and statements of Mr. Faber, especially when connected with his view of tradition and the church's teaching, be not “ eminently unscriptural and delusive,' calculated to uphold a system, the tendency of which is to conceal all the leading truths of the everlasting Gospel, and to bring us again into bondage to beggarly elements,” to the doctrines and commandments of men.
WELLINGTON BANQUET :-DUTY OF ACKNOWLEDGING THE
HAND OF GOD IN NATIONAL MERCIES.
To the Editor of the Christian Oberver. I do not know what authority your discursive but amusing correspondent F. S., in your November Number, has for his anecdote that the Duke of Wellington said at supper, after the great engagement, “ Thank God I have met him ;" or whether, if the story be correct, the remark meant any more than when persons say, “ Thank God, what fine harvest weather!" In charity I hope that it meant much more than is intended by such ordinary colloquial exclamations ; but it certainly would have been very gratifying to“ all who call themselves Christians,' if this hope had been confirmed at the late Dover banquet. I looked with some anxiety, with this object, to the report of the speeches delivered on that occasion ; and deeply regret to observe that the remark once made upon the perusal of Lord Anson's voyage, “ Hic Deus nihil fecit !' was painfully recalled to my mind.
It is unnecessary to enlarge upon the character and consequences of the victory at Waterloo, which have already become matter of history; but I appeal to every Englishman then living, who was of sufficient age to be capable of reflecting upon that appalling period, whether there ever was an epoch when our very existence as a nation depended under God more decidedly upon the result of that single battle; and to all professing Christians in particular, I appeal whether their feelings were not called forth in the prospect of that engagement; and their supplications at the throne of grace especially quickened, when they saw-as far as human judgment could anticipate the future-shall I say the pregnant probability ? nay rather the moral certainty—that if our incensed and implacable foe had then added to his many and mighty triumphs over prostrate nations, the overthrow of the united forces of all Europe (in which England had the principal share), nothing short at least of the deep humiliation and protracted suffering, if not the entire subjugation and overthrow, of Christian England would have followed. In that dread hour of danger and dismay, which I for one can well remember, and of
which I often tell my children, it pleased the God of armies to fit, by a peculiar course of preceding services, and by such pre-eminent talents for the occasion as have fallen to the lot of few commanders either in ancient or modern times, the distinguished and honoured hero of that day. In addition to the dauntless courage and patient endurance of the chosen officers and soldiers who were placed by the same gracious Providence under the duke's command, it further pleased God, by various peculiar and providential events (not necessary to be here enumerated), to bring about a result which, had it fallen to the lot of the departed Nelson to have recorded, he would perhaps have written, “ Almighty God has blessed his majesty's arms in these parts with a great victory."
It will not be forgotten by many, and should be known to all, that many real Christians were on this occasion in the British army; as, blessed be God! there also are at this hour, both in India and elsewhere; and let me add, that by far the most heart-stirring account of the Waterloo action which I have ever read, was given in a letter from a Methodist soldier (Sergeant B.) which the late valued Mr. Butterworth, “ whose praise is in all the churches,” was at the expence of printing and distributing largely over the country which the sergeant had helped to save ; indeed I should hardly envy the Christian Englishman who could read that letter and keep his eyes dry; nor am I ashamed, Mr. Editor, to confess that the bare recollection of that statement almost forces me, as Shakspeare says, “ to play the woman."
Now, was it to have been expected, under these circumstances, that in a meeting like that at Dover, either the opening speech of Lord Brougham, or that of acknowledgment from the Duke of Wellington, could possibly have omitted all notice of the Lord of hosts and Giver of victory? and yet most afflicting is it to observe that such was the case. I may perhaps be told that this was not the time or place for such acknowledgments; but I would ask, can they be ever out of season? and is it not to be feared that the want of all recognition on such an occasion of the superintending mercy which raised up such instruments for our deliverance, is more or less to exalt and honour those instruments to the derogation of the great First Cause, and thus to present the example of a virtual refusal to “ give God the glory.” Were such a plea admissible here, what then would become of those injunctions to confess our Master before men; not to be ashamed of him in an adulterous generation; and not to honour the creature more than the Creator ?
To put the argument on the lowest ground: were not the illustrious speakers at that day's festivity bound to place their personal opinions above all doubt ; and, since“ de non apparentibus et non existentibus eadem est ratio, "to prevent, by an honest confession of gratitude, any persons in that Christian nation of which they had chosen to be more or less the organs and representatives, from imputing to an at best equivocal silence such unworthy motives as either of them would probably be ready and even anxious to disavow.
Of Lord Brougham, as of His Grace, I wish to speak with all Christian consideration and tenderness; but it is impossible for me, as a member of society, not to feel that the great are, as a certain king is made to say, " the makers of manners;' and still more impossible, as the member of a Christian church, not to desire earnestly that both these noble persons may be more than “almost,” yea “altogether," Christians. Far from pursuing the language of recrimination or reproach (in opposition to which spirit I desire to say with Montesquieu, "Je n'ai point naturellement l'esprit desapprobateur"), I would earnestly suggest to both, if I might hope that these humble lines would ever reach them, the importance of reviewing the course pursued by each of them on the Dover festival, in this day of rebuke and blasphemy," when it is very important that no one standing in high and influential stations should give occasion, where it can possibly be avoided, to the enemies of God and man to misconstrue or misrepresent those motives to action which, after all, must more or less be inferred from the actions themselves. To either and both these great and gifted men (for such they both are, though in such different ways) may I venture to suggest, without offence, a consideration of the declaration of our blessed Lord, “ He that is not with me is against me;" seeing that this solemn warning will assuredly be the rule of his own procedure in judgment? (Mark viii. 39; Luke xii. 8,9.) How important would it be, if great statesmen (especially those who speak much, so as to influence others) would determine to make the word of God the governing principle of their conduct and reasonings! In that case, God would honour them, as honouring him; the Church of Christ would be under extensive obligations to them ; and they would them. selves be preserved from a multitude of errors which (whether they will believe it or not) the poorest rustic who believes his Bible, and almost every child at a sunday-school, can at once detect and refute upon infallible authority. It is impossible, upon any other principle than the unhappy neglect of the word of God, to understand how the worldly-wise are perpetually taken in their own craftiness, since the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God: the misfortune is, that irreparable mischief is done by such moral blunders, the consequences of which are often most ruinous and fatal.
Most gladly would I rather forget than record, if duty did not appear to require it, the deplorable mistake (to use no harsher term) into which both the noble individuals in question have lately fallen, in reference to the continued support of idolatry in India ; on which subject in particular, Lord Brougham should have been better informed, than to undertake the defence of the East India Directors, in conti. nuing to exact from their Christian officers and servants such homage to idols and their worship as has wounded their consciences and alienated their affections; compelling a high military officer and a civil servant of the Company, to resign their commissions almost simultaneously, rather than violate the commands of God. And doubtless to the same unacquaintedness with the requisitions of the inspired volume, must be referred the unhappy mistake of the Duke in regard to other great religious and moral questions – such as the late Slave Trade question ; but above all, the Romish Emancipation Act, where the carnal policy by which certain politicians designed the consolidation of their own power, as the result of a supposed amalgamation of parties, was signally defeated even from the moment in which that ruinous expedient was carried ; and the consequence of which has been, that the country has never ceased to eat the bitter fruit of its legislators having acted not only without reference to the experience derived from all sacred and secular history, but in direct contravention of the principles contained in the word of God. In all this, I repeat,
that it is really painful to invite attention to these errors; nor, had they been merely of a political, rather than of a religious, character, should they have received the present notice. I have been insensibly led to comment upon them as more or less illustrative, to my own mind, of the evil of attempting to advance a step either in public or private life, without the direction and guidance of the divine oracles, and of the danger of making flesh our confidence, or ascribing to human instrumentality the honour that is due to God alone. It was not thus that the holy Psalmist acted, when he exclaimed, “ If the Lord himself had not been on our side, now may Israel
say, If the Lord himself had not been on our side when men rose up against us, they had swallowed us up quick when they were so wrathfully displeased at us. But praised be the Lord who hath not given us over for a prey unto their teeth ; our soul is escaped, even as a bird out the snare of the fowler, the snare is broken, and we are delivered. Our help standeth in the name of the Lord, who hath made heaven and earth.” (Psalm cxxiv. Prayer-Book Translation.) Surely Lord Brougham must regret, even as a matter of taste, that in collecting materials for his speech, he should have overlooked this sublime and beautiful recognition of the power and mercy of the Almighty in the deliverance of his people, as certain to have afforded one of the highest embellishments of his rhetoric, and to have formed the most effective portion of his address :-nor would the Duke of Wellington, as it appears to me, have less performed his obvious duty to Him who both preserved his life and crowned him with victory, than he would have enhanced his highest fame, if, in reply to the praise so hardly earned, and so justly bestowed, he had laid his honours at the feet of the God of battles, and humbly exclaimed in presence of the assembled multitude, with the same inspired warrior and ruler, “Not unto us, O Lord ! not unto us, but unto thy name be the glory."
I unfeignedly feel, in common with the nation so deeply indebted to the distinguished and honoured individual of the Dover triumph, that I would anxiously desire for him far higher and better rewards than any perishing tokens of gratitude which this world can bestow, even the honour that cometh from God alone, and that crown which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall eventually bestow upon those only who love and fear him. Assuredly in that solemn day, it will avail us nothing to have been made great and eminent instruments, either in the Church or the world, for promoting the glory of God, or the interests of our fellow men, if this be all. I would seek—and oh ! may the country seek !—for such laurels for the Duke of Wellington as none of those mere worldly warriors, who only look for the applause of their fellow-creatures, and so “ have their reward,” shall never obtain, because they neither ask nor hope for any thing better. May our great defender propose to himself far higher objects; and may all who can pray, entreat of the Almighty to bestow them on this exalted personage.
Little, indeed, would it avail him to hear such language as was once addressed to Cyrus—"I have called thee by thy name, though thou hast not known me.” May his Grace rather be found fighting under His banner, “whom to serve is perfect freedom,” and be taught to know Him “whom to know is life eternal."