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and impossible, the religiously useful man of the world struggles to keep himself awake from that moral sleep of slothfulness which enwraps the monks of de Rance's school. Pity them we may, for they are the victims of good intentions, annihilated by running into the vice of extremes. Pity them ! but, above all, be not thou the first to rebuke them, oh, self-satisfied hypocrite, who complacently disregardest the teachings of the Church, to lose thyself in the mazes of thine own conceits and in the dangers of thine own self-righteousness. First learn to obey, ere thou blamest the excess of obedience in another--thou, whose charity is of that quality that it would almost refuse salvation to all who are not of thine own parish, or who sit not under thy favourite minister ;-the humble and hoping, though mistaken monk, is preferable to the weak and arrogant thing that thou art !

Art. V.The Gospel before the Age ; or, Christ with Nico

demus. Being an Exposition for the Times. By the Rev. ROBERT MONTGOMERY, M.A., Oxon, Minister of Percy

Chapel, London. London: Baisler. 1844. WE rather like quaint titles, provided they convey the true meaning ; but this title, “The Gospel before the Age," does not well express the purport of this book, and to most persons would give an erroneous impression. The theme which Mr. Montgomery has taken up is far larger, and at the same time more definite, than we had imagined from the title of the book; it is no less than maintaining that the claims of religion are, in every sense, and under all circumstances, paramount-above all secular things, and at the root of all secular things—as furnishing the only principles in the light of which anything can be rightly done, or any institution be set upon a solid foundation. And this religion, not the mawkish sentimentalism called natural theology, nor even those commonplace and elementary truths of Christianity which are usually understood by the phrase “ the Gospel ;" but Christianity, in its length, and breadth, and heights, and depths, as coming from God and leading to him, and beholding all things but as instruments for accomplishing his will and making him known—or, failing of this, as useless and purposeless at best—too probably as offensive and criminal. A noble theme, and right nobly is it handled; and fain would we hope, and prophecy if we durst, that it is but the forerunner of other works of the same high stamp, and in a still loftier and more energetic, because more highly wrought, and therefore more terse and nervous, strain. For if we mistake not, Mr. Montgomery has now found his proper element, and then he will feel it to be so, and will delight in it, and grow more and more into conformity with it, and may hope to produce English discourses rivalling those of Chrysostom or Basil in eloquence and power, yet adapted to the deeper and more accurate theology of the present advanced age of the Church-sharpened by the subtleties of the schoolmen, and hardened and disciplined by the controversies with Rome.

Mr. Montgomery will pardon us if we say that we have often been grieved and pained by his former writings, not because they were reprehensible, but because they showed that he was not in his right element. We cannot say that he was out of his depth, for his footing was firm enough at all times, and there was no want of power or of self-confidence; but he was grasping after things which had not enough of tangible reality for him, and so sometimes appeared visionary and obscure; at other times, unnaturally inflated. But in his present work he has a reality on which he has laid firm hold; and this, though a reality, gives the most ample scope for imagination to soar for ever, yet not grow bewildered, and on which eloquence and passion may dilate for ever, yet the subject not become exhausted thereby.

Our Lord's discourse with Nicodemus forms the groundwork of this volume—a passage of Scripture which has been less frequently understood, and more frequently perverted, than any other of the same prominency; minds of one class shrinking from it altogether, as above their comprehension; and minds of another class, who dare rush in where angels fear to tread, dog- \ matizing upon subjects they do not understand, with arrogance derived perhaps from the synod of Dort, but improving, if we may so speak, upon their model. This discourse is first opened by Mr. Montgomery in a very masterly manner, and then the theological and practical principles which have been thus acquired or ascertained are brought to bear upon the Church, and made to test the maxims of state, and applied to the various practices in the world, and chief relationships of society, and domestic or social duties, as subsisting around us, and subjects of daily notice. And it thus comes out, and is made manifest, that the Gospel is not merely believing in the NAME, but is also participating in the NATURE, of the Lord Jesus, by regeneration. And then

“ That there are features in the existing age which, more than at any period since the apostolical, tend to illustrate man as he is, according to God's description, in contrast to man as he wishes to be, according to his own presumption. And here it is that, in a most peculiar

sense, we shall find the Gospel of Christ to be vastly BEFORE THE AGE --that is, utterly and infallibly, by its prescient wisdom, and spiritual acquaintances with humanity in all its corruptions, capacities, and exigencies—ANTEDATING ITS MANIFESTATION OF SIN AND SUFFERING ; while at the same time it offers the grand and only relief for its weaknesses and wants.” (p. 6).

In order to this, our participating in the nature of the Lord Jesus," it was necessary that he should first partake of ours; and accordingly the Son of God became man, and assumed our nature in all respects, sin only excepted. It was necessary too, not only as it regarded us, but as it regarded him

“ For verily he took not on him the nature of angels ; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God.” (Heb. ii. 16).

And as a consequence of the incarnation, and as a preliminary to our being made partakers of the divine nature, Jesus, who knew what was in man, did not at once commit himself to any, and ministered the Gospel, and kept himself who is the substance of that Gospel, in accordance with this his knowledge of man. The exposition of the discourse with Nicodemus is introduced by some striking remarks on the conclusion of the preceding chapter, showing how it was, that though " many believed in his name when they saw the miracles that he did," yet “ Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men." That, in addition to the ordinary sense of the words, they also imply the little “worth of convictions which cause the intellect to repose in the bare fact of divine credentials; and from this style of tacit rebuke we may infer, that between the Saviour and the human spirit these mental convictions still leave a mighty and momentous gap.” (p. 10). And touching what is implied in the declaration, that " he knew what was in man," we must extract rather a long passage, to do justice to Mr. Montgomery, by putting our readers in possession of the argument:

“ If we refer this perception of what is in man to Christ, as a conSTITUTED PERSON in the mediatorial covenant, and as the head OF THE HUMAN REGENERATION, many and manifold are the trains of thought which this view opens to the meditative Christian. Among others, contemplate this for a moment—that the distinct conjunction of infinite glory with finite dependency, in the oneness of the Redeemer's

person is not only unto us the great mystery never to be fathomed, but it is that which separates our Immanuel, by an unshared peculiarity, from EVERY BEING, created and uncreated, in the universe. For not the FIRST person, nor the THIRD, but the SECOND, the Only-begotten, has

been made of a woman, made under the law. Thus, then, while in Godhead he is allied, with unutterable essence, both to the Father and the Spirit ; and while in manhood he is bound to the entire family of human nature by the link of incarnation-in the complex unity of his person, arising out of his incarnated state, the Redeemer stands apart from all that was, is, or shall be. Now the purpose of this remark is to introduce your minds to a sound view of the Redeemer, as exercising HIS CREATED MIND. For if, in idea or principle, we absorb the human into the glory of the divine, or confuse the divine with the reality of the human, how can we reverence with awe and gratitude the operations of that Spirit who equipped the Mediator's faculties for all their functions ? Or (and this bears directly on the subject) what becomes of the OFFICIAL GLORIES of Messiah, unless with sacred tenacity we hold fast the Catholic truth-that while, as Christ, he was essentially God, in all the essence of deity; so he was economically man, in all the fulness of humanity? Believing this, therefore, when we refer the words, "He knew what was in man,' to Jesus, as furnished by the Spirit, thus to interpret the universal heart of our human creation, what a crown of intellectual majesty is here put on the head of him who was to the blind and base creatures around him nothing more than the carpenter's son! And that we may not content ourselves with a magnificence of a mere generality, just consider the height to which this knowledge of internal humanity elevates our Lord above all who profess to be philosophers of the heart, and to dive into the fountain depths of its movements.

“ Touching, then, this heart-knowledge, it is rightly estimated as inferior only to our knowledge of God. For, next to the divine nature, what is so spiritually interesting to us as the human ? Accordingly, in every age of mankind, he who has descended into the moral deeps of humanity with the most daring plunge, searched them with the most refined sagacity, and drawn up and out, for instructive analysis, the secrets which he beheld therethat writer has ever been foremost in our admiration. Nor is it scripturally needful to deny the nature or diminish the extent to which the piercing eye of profound genius, before Christ and since, both read and unrolled that volume of paradox --the heart. Nor can it be forgotten that history, suffering, experience, daily example, public crimes, private vices, our own consciences, characters, conditions, and trials—each in their mode and measure may instruct us as to much that is in man, by the obvious illustration of what thus comes out of him. Above all, we are bound to remember that the fall of man, and the Bible, most awfully and fearfully impress upon every reasonable mind lessons on the hidden workings of our inmost souls. But let all this be duly considered, and still we reiterate the truth-if Christ needed not that Axy should TESTIFY, because he knew what was in man, how paramount is Christ over every created being, as a spiritual detector of the heart, soul, and spirit of mankind! For, to omit what might be said as to the fact, that we need much testimony from man, before we can safely reach a conclusion even as to a little that is in him; and also not to linger on another fact, that unto the last moment of consciousness the most ripened

saint is READING his own weakness and sin; without placing any stress upon all this, by varied considerations we may prove that it is the alone prerogative of Jesus, as the moral prophet of man, to be the greatest expounder of the heart which has ever visited our world with light, warning, and love............ But even yet we may illustrate words which ascribe unto the Saviour an infallible detection of man's buried heart, by a reference which the following passage from John vi. may properly introduce— There are some of you which believe not: for Jesus knew FROM THE BEGINNING who they were that believed not, and WHO SHOULD BETRAY HIM.' Conjoin with this allusion to our Lord's betrayal his own frequent predictions of his death. Above all, ponder on the dread intensity of soul which works and writhes its way through the meaning of this tragic verse— I have a baptism to be baptized with, and How AM I STRAIGHTENED (ANGUISHED) till it be accomplished !' When the spirit of these quotations is condensed, you will at once admit the assertion, that our Lord not only knew what was IN MAN, so far as man's nature was related to the world, the flesh, to Satan, and itself; but, moreover, he knew what was and would be in man as respected himself also. In other words, he knew that as effectual principle and moral root, THE CRUCIFIXION OF AN INCARNATED GOD WAS IN MAN ! Most truly, therefore, and with awful pre-eminence, might there be ascribed unto Jesus a thrilling perception of our deicidal enmity towards God. For, long ere they emerged from their dismal hiding-place, our Lord beheld, far down in the depths of their secret depravity, those infernal PRINCIPLES of sin which hereafter should imbody themselves in the crucifixion of himself. And when we read of Gethsemane's agony and Calvary's groan, let us imagine (if we can) what were the human feelings of Christ, as he moved about the home and around the hearts of men, in whose murderous hate he saw prepared all which gave to that agony its bloody sweat, and to that groan its direful pangma groan which was the echo of a Saviour's broken heart.” (pp. 13-18).

This view of the knowledge of the human heart which was possessed by Christ is very amply developed and illustrated by many passages of Scripture, in order to prepare for the exposition, given by Mr. Montgomery, of the discourse itself; which he conceives does not appear to be an answer to the enquiry of Nicodemus, unless we understand it as being directed to the thoughts which were passing through bis mind, and not to the words he spake. It was (Mr. Montgomery believes) the wonted habit with our Lord, who knew what was in man's heart quite as accurately as he heard what came from man's tongue, to answer, not so much the speech of the lip, as the state of soul from whence the speech" proceeded; and by directing his words not so much to the language of those who addressed him, as to the inward and secret disposition which that language but partially unveiled, Christ was perpetually indicating his title to be indeed “come from God.” (pp. 33, 35).

And the announcement which our Lord then made to Nico

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