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Montgomery, or any other man, shall prove that a knowledge of my name can in any manner enable him or them to invali. date my arguments, it shall be instantly assigned.
If I had spoken of him with the slightest disrespect in my former letter to you, he might have a right to complain of being thus anonymously assailed, but I have done no such thing. My argument, and not my person, or my name, is the subject matter to which Mr. Montgomery ought, I conceive, to apply his attention. Let him refute that argument, and I promise, that if he should then persist in his desire to know who I am, he shall be gratified on this point. He has very lately replied, in the Newry Telegraph, to an anonymous writer, and it is difficult to conjecture a sufficient reason for his adopting another line of conduet with respect to me.
Mr. Montgomery proposes, in case I assign my name, to enter into a discussion with me on all the points at issue betwixt the Orthodox Episcopalians and the New-Light Presbyterians. For two reasons I decline to accept his challenge. First, because the New-Light Presbyterians have no fixed formula of faith, to which they all give their assent, and by which the theological opinions of the body may be ascertained. Therefore, if I were to enter largely, and even successfully, into the proposed discussion, I might be told, that the opinions which I had combated, were only the opinions of an individual, (Mr. Montgomery) and not of the community to which he belonged. It is not very long ago since he himself objected to the Rev. Mr. Porter's attempt to define the Arian Creed'; and alleged, that, though he (Mr. Porter) might make a statement of the articles of his own faith, that statement might not correspond with his (Mr. Montgomery's) opinions.Secondly,—it is obvious, that if I were to enter into a polemical argument with Mr. Montgomery, respecting all the points at issue betwixt the Established Church and him, you could not afford space in a periodical work, published only once a month, for
such discussion. On the whole, I do firmly believe, that the conclusions which I have come to, in the letter published in your Eleventh Number, are strietly consonant to Scripture and to reason, and therefore unanswerable; and when Mr. Montgomery oomes to examine them, I trust he will be of the same opinion; but should he succeed in overturning my positions, he will find me open to conviction. I am, Sir, respectfully,
Your ob’dt. serv't. Oct. 20, 1830. A MEMBER OF THE ESTABLISHED CHURCH. NOTICE OF BOOKS. THE PLEAŞING EXPOSITOR; or, Anecdotes illus
trative of Select Passages of the New Testament. By JOHN WHITECROSS. p.p. 200. 18mo. 38. OLIPHANT, Edinburgh.
We lately mentioned, that it had often been our design to devote a portion of our pages to brief notices of Books; not, however, with the formality of a Review, but generally as the mere announcement of a favourable or unfavourable opinion. We are the more inclined to follow out this purpose, because we have learned, that some of our Readers have concluded, that all books advertised on our cover are thereby stamped - with our approbation... This, we beg leave to say, is not the case. Advertisements of books on the cover are mere matters of business, and by them we express no opinion respecting their contents. Indeed our advertisements often contain books we have never seen. We think, however, we will be serving our Readers by an occasional notice of some Christian Author, with whose excellence we are acquainted. Accordingly we have selected one for our present Number, which we can confidently recommend to the attention of the public.
THE PLEASING Expositor is by the Author of "Anecdotes on the Shorter Catechism," and is constructed upon a similar plan. An important text of Scripture is given, and this is illustrated by an appropriate practical anecdote. While the book is not large, the selection of Aneedotes is ample, and, so far as we have observed, judicious. The great desideratun, we conceive, in such a work, is, not so much that the story 'be appropriate, as that it be well authenticated. A doubtful story should not be admitted, lest it throw back upon the Scripture a portion of its own shadow. This evil, we think, Mr. Whitecross has scrupulously avoided; for, while his range of story is wide, his selection seems to be from sources of respectable authority. We consider “ The Pleasing Expositor” to be worthy of its name; and think that the Author has conferred another benefit on the rising generation.
We had intended to subjoin several extracts, but our limits prevent us from giving more than the following of this new style of commentary ;-
Matt. ix. 36.But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd.
“Pive hundred millions of souls,' exclaims a Missionary, "are represented as being unenlightened! I cannot, if I would, give up the idea of being a Missionary, while I refect upon this vast number of my fellow-sinners, who are perishing for lack of knowledge. Five hundred millions ! intrudes itself upon my mind wherever I go, and however I am employed. When I go to bed, it is the last thing that recurs to my memory; if I awake in the night, it is to meditate on it alone; and in the morning, it is generally the first thing that occupies my thoughts.'”
Mark i. 25.-And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.
"Colonel Gardiner used constantly to rise at four in the morning, and to spend his time till six in the secret exercises of the closet, reading, meditation, and prayer; in which last he acquired such a fervency of spirit, as, “! believe,” says his biographer, "few men living ever attained. This certainly very much contributed to strengthen that tirm faith in God, and reverent animating sense of his presence, for which he was so eminently remarkable, and which carried him through the trials and services of life with such steadiness, and with such activity; for he indeed endured and acted as if always seeing him who is invisible. If at any time he was obliged to go out before six in the morning, he rose proportionably sooner: so that when a journey or a march has required him to be on horseback by four, he would be at his devotions by two.""
ERRATUM.–Page 419, Vol. I. 3d line from the head, for contemptibly,” read completely strangled." In the commencement of the present Number, the paging has been carried from Vol. I.; the first half sheet was printed off before we noticed the mistake, but it is corrected at page 13.
That you should prove all doctrines, weigh all experiences,
Besides, you are accountable creatures. The awful day is fast approaching, when the Lord will bring to light the hidden things of darkness; will make manifest the counsels of the heart; and render to every man according to his deeds. 1 Cor. iv. 5; Rom. ii. 6. And the prospect of that certain and solemn account, should lead you now to judge yourselves, that you may not then be condemned with the world.
We are aware that Satan will use every artifice to divert you from the self-examination we are so strongly
arging upon you. He is eerlain that your faithfulness in this matter, would end in your being rescued from his influence, as the prey delivered from the mighty. Hence he “ blinds the minds of them that believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” 2 Cor. iv. 4. But so much the more diligently slould you ply the work, that you may escape from the hands of the destroyer.
If from the preceding considerations you are fully de. termined to enter into the investigation of your case, you will naturally wish to be informed how you are to go about the matter, and to this we would next turn your attention.
And first, you are not to bring yourselves to your fellow-creatures, as the test by which you are to judge.
The great body of men are, if we believe the Scriptures, (Matt. vii. 13, 14,) treading the broad way that leads to destruction ; and therefore, though you may be able with the Pharisee to “ thank God that you are not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers," and that you attend to all the outward formalities of religion, it argues nothing for the safety of your state All this you may be, and have only the form of godliness without its power. Even pious men are seldom as devoted to God as they should be. Even they, will not be the standard by which we will be judged at the great day, and therefore should not now be the test by which to try our condition in the sight of God.
Nor, secondly, in judging of your state, should you compare yourselves merely with what you may have once been.
You may have been reformed without being regenerated. You may have turned from sin, and yet never have repented of it truly, nor with a living faith have cordially embraced that Saviour, whose blood alone can wash away its guilt, and whose Spirit alone can overturn its power.—1 Cor. vi. 11. The blasphemer may have ceased from his vile habit of gwearing, because, to take the name of God in vain, is now as vulgar as it is wicked; and the man who does so, is unfit for polite society. The drunkard may have ceased from his swinish indulgence, because his means of obtaining strong drink are gone, and a starving wise, and naked children stare him in the face, as the fruit of his doings. The debauchee may have ceased from his profligate course,
because his constitution, exhausted by sin, and by age, and by illness, will not allow him to run to his former excess of riot; but who could for a moment imagine that any of these were really converted characters, or were entitled to speak peace to themselves ? No: men may, on these, and similar principles, reform, and often do re.
m; and well it is for society that they do; yet it is merely a shadow without a substance; it is a mere body without a soul; a mere cleansing of the outside of the cup and platter, while the inside is still full of ra. vening and wickedness. A man can have neither lot nor part in religion, while his heart is not right in the sight of God. Acts viii. 21. And this change of heart can only be by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost. Titus iii. 5.
But what then, in the third place, are you to strive to ascertain ?
Nothing short of this, whether you have undergone the great and gracious change sometimes called in Scripture, conversion. Matt. xviii. 3. Sometimes, being born again. John iii. 7. Sometimes, being made a new creature. 2 Cor. v. 17. And sometimes, putting off the old man which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; being re. newed in the spirit of the mind; and putting on the new man, which, after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness. Eph. iv. 22, 23, 24.
Prove yourselves then, whether, having been once darkness, ye are now light in the Lord. Eph. v. 8. Whether having once been dead, ye have ever been made alive from the dead, Eph. ii. 1. Whether having once been unconcerned about your never-dying souls, you have been led to the anxious inquiry, "What must I do to be saved ?” Acts xvi. 30. Whether baving been once insensible to the evil of sin, you have ever felt the godly sorrow for it, which worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of. 2 Cor. vii. 10. Having once seen no beauty in Christ, wherefore you should desire him, nor felt any anxiety about an interest in him, have you since perceived that without him, you must utterly perish; and have you received him as the hope of your souls, with faith unfeigned? Acts iv. 12; John i. 12. Once you were afar off, have you been brought near by the blood of Christ? Eph. ii. 13. Once your soul was a stranger to peace, is it now justisied by faith, and at peace with God through our Lord