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carried out in this country; and if so, he is bouud at once to undeceive the miserable dupes who are trusting in him, and expecting that his advent to power will enable them to-cut off a large slice from every poor man's loaf. Or it is his object to repudiate the principle of free trade, and, under the name of protection to the agricultural interests, to re-impose, in some form or other, that tax upon the necessaries of life, which the people of Britain were good natured enough to submit to, for the long space of thirty years. In either case, his Lordship has assumed the government upon false pretences, and we have a right to insist upon a categorical answer, for doubt upon
this matter cannot but injure our trade and commerce. If, as he says, it is the country, not his party, that are to settle the question of free trade or protection, then the opinion of the constituencies should be asked as soon as possible. It will not do to postpone this matter, as is alleged, until we obtain Chancery and other legal reforms. Chancery reform is much required. It is a melancholy fact. But all have not estates in Chancery, while every man, woman,
and child in the kingdom eats bread, and lives by the labour of the field. The bread-tax is a more urgent matter than the processes in the Court of Chancery. Ambiguity here cannot, and shall not, be endured. The protectionists must either throw down their arms, acknowledge that they have been beaten, and that they will never again disturb the peace of the commonweath on this question; or we must rally our forces afresh, and beat them so soundly, that they will scarcely have strength left in them to peep or to mutter. And most assuredly, if they compel us to form our ranks again, and enter upon the battle-field, we shall expect to gain something more as the rewards of victory, than the re-establishment of the free trade principle. Holding these views, we are glad to find the Anti-corn Law League resuscitated. It was asleep, not dead. It has awoke, like a giant refreshed with sleep. At its first meeting in Manchester, twenty-seven thousand pounds were subscribed in less than twenty-five minutes, an unprecedented sum to begin with, in the annals of agitation. When we write, about sixty thousand pounds are reported. The Earl of Derby had the bad taste to sneer at these paper subscriptions, as he called them. The subscriptions will be transmuted into gold, if required, and for a very sufficient reason. The merchant-princes of Britain would speedily lose far more than the sums they have put down, by the re-imposition of the bread-tax, or even by the matter being left undetermined for a season.
And should these paper cheques even be converted into cash, and paid in full, the expenditure will not do much service to the exclusive privileges of his Lordship’s class. In a controversy of this kind, should we be compelled to fight the battle again, there can be no doubt of success. If defeated in our first campaign, we shall enter upon it a second time. If beaten a second time, we shall resume the conflict a third time; and never shall we throw down our arms, until victory is unmistakeably ours, and our opponents effectually prevented from making farther resistance. The country has prospered under free trade, prospered more than its most sanguine advocates could have anticipated. The people eat more bread, drink more tea, consume more sugar, wear more clothes, and pay more taxes, than they did seven or eight years ago ; and we shall not renounce such benefits for the aggrandisement of a small fraction of landowners. We say landowners advisedly; for a farmer has no more interest in paying a large sum for the land, the raw material out of which corn is produced, than a manufacturer has in paying an exorbitant price for the flax and cotton of which his fabrics are composed. If the agricultural class can prove that they are taxed more than their fair share, by all means let there be an equitable adjustment. But never again shall they be allowed to tax the poor man's loaf. They may talk as long as they please about a five shilling duty upon the quarter of wheat, but it is of no avail. As Moses said to Pharaoh, “there shall not an hoof be left behind;" so we say to Earl Derby, there shall not be one farthing of taxation upon bread. The nation has been taxed for thirty years already, which was thirty years too long. Be thankful we do not demand compensation.
Dissenters have a most important duty to fulfil, at the approaching general election, for it must come soon, and we hope they will act out their principles. In Scotland, two-thirds of the population are Dissenters; and we should certainly have something to say, in determining the qualifications of Members of Parliament. There are many friends of civil liberty, who are compulsories in religion, and who do not understand the great lesson which all history teaches, that civil freedom is based upon religious. There are many distinguished advocates for commercial freedom, who cry out against the iniquity of taxing the bread of the people, and yet see no harm, but much propriety, in taxing the majority of the empire to support those ecclesiastical institutions, whose authority and worship they repudiate. Many can speak most eloquently of the injury which is done to the interests which have long been protected by Legislative enactments and privileges, but who will not acknowledge that, of all the interests protected by acts of Parliament, and propped up by compulsory bounties, religion has suffered the most. Many cry loudly for free trade in corn, in timber, and in sugar, who do not perceive that Voluntaryism is just free trade in religion ; and who require some sharp lessons to convince them, that Dissenters care for truth as well as for liberty, and that they value liberty principally for the sake of truth. Dissenters may be of eminent service in the approaching election, even when they cannot carry out their own views in the pollingbooth, by acting as the teachers of mere worldly politicians, and by dropping some seeds of truth, which may subsequently spring up and bear good fruit
. The responsibilities of dissenting electors are most momentous at this crisis, as regards even the Whig and Liberal politicians, who neither understand nor appreciate the position of the millions in this empire who support their own religious institutions,—who are the conscientious opponents of established churches, because they deem them unjust and unscriptural,and who are seriously of the opinion, that the public money expended upon ecclesiastical endowments would be better employed, were it cast into the sea. “ To your tents, then, O Israel! Quit ye like men, and be strong!”
Printed by Thomas MURRAY, of 2, Arniston Place, and WILLIAM GIBB, of 12, Queen
Street, at the Printing Office of MURRAY and GIBB, North-East Thistle Street Lane, and Published by WILLIAM OLIPHANT, of 21, Buccleuch Place, at his Shop, 7, South Bridge, Edinburgh, on the 27th of March 1852.
UNITED PRESBYTERIAN MAGAZINE,
FOR MAY, 1852.
CHRISTIANITY SUITED TO MAN.
In our former communications, we have endeavoured to show the suitableness of Christianity to man's intellectual and moral constitution, as manifested in his restless desire to obtain some revelation; in his delight in the assurance of immortality; in his deep conviction of his own sinfulness; and in his presentiment of the final judgment. We shall endeavour now to demonstrate the suitableness to man of the christian plan of mercy. We have been hitherto among the outworks, but we come now to the citadel. What we have said was necessary to bring us up to this position, and we must occupy it, or very little has been gained. The doctrines mentioned above, though belonging to Christianity, and though revealed in the New Testament with a distinctness and power of evidence altogether unequalled, are not peculiar to Christianity80 that even if all our reasoning hitherto has been conclusive, we have only established the fact that some things about Christianity,--some doctrines which that system has in common with other systems of religion,--are in accordance with man's intellectual and moral nature, rather than that Christianity itself is in accordance with it. Let us look, then, at the great truth of Christianity,—the salvation of man from guilt and depravity through the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ.
We have already said that man is distinguished by a conviction more or less decided of his sinfulness, and that the consciousness of guilt has shown itself in all ages in the sacrifices of slain beasts. Disturbed and perplexed, man is afraid to approach a holy God. He sees in the world
indications of benevolence; he looks on the fields covered with corn, and the hills with flocks; he listens to the singing of birds, and marks with delight rejoicing nature--but he cannot shut his eyes to facts that tell of anger rather than of love, to indications of justice, to the famine and the pestilence, the earthquake and tornado,-confirmed as these indications are by his own mental forebodings. Hence, in order to avert the displeasure of God, painful rites have been observed; flocks of sheep and hecatombs of oxen have been im
VOL. VI. NO. V.
molated, men have sacrificed the fruit of their body for the sin of their soul, and have devoted themselves willing victims to the most cruel tortures and most painful deaths. That the origin of sacrifices is to be found in the direct appointment of God, we have very little doubt; for reason cannot very satisfactorily vindicate the doctrine. It seems neither merciful to slay the innocent, nor just to substitute them for the guilty. But whatever may be our views on these points,—whether we are disposed to regard the practice of sacrifices as the result of Divine appointment or not, and whether we regard the doctrine of sacrifices as reasonable or not, we must admit, from the universal prevalence of sacrificial rites, that the stern maxim is inscribed on the heart of man,— Without shedding of blood there is no remission.” If there be any nation who have no such sacrifices as those to which we have previously referred, even among them it is obvious that the feeling of penal satisfaction cleaves to the heart, and suggests some other expedient to assuage the desperation of guilt. Let it be granted, for the sake of argument, that these are idle fancies, wild frenzies, superstitious dreams, where is the man who is without them? They belong to the heart of man, and are interwoven with his moral constitution.
If the argument which we have now stated be correct, then it must appear obvious that Christianity, as a scheme of salvation through means of substitutionary sacrifice, is suited to man's intellectual and moral constitution. It comes to those whose souls are prepossessed in favour of the doctrine of propitiation. To the man who has watched the quivering limbs of his victim, or who has lacerated himself and undergone the most painful penances, uncertain if these will avert the wrath which conscience declares has been incurred; to men feeling, as multitudes do, the conflicting emotions that arise from the assurance, that without some rite of expiation, although they know not what, they cannot approach the Almighty, Christianity says,
“Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” To him who tremblingly asks, “Where is the lamb for a burnt-offering," it says, “God hath provided for himself a lamb.” God in his paternal character is unfolded. The perplexed and troubled spirit is pointed to the Eternal Father giving up his well-beloved Son, and to that Son giving up himself, that Jehovah, in bestowing forgiveness, and in receiving sinners into fellowship with himself, might show himself “a just God and a Saviour.” Abundant mercy is proclaimed, but it is mercy in harmony with righteousness; a full salvation, but a salvation in the procuring of which the rights of the King of the universe are maintained. The restless and agitated spirit falls prostrate at the cross, and cries in wonder, and penitence, and joy, “This is my rest.” The hard heart of man is melted; the love of Christ constrains him; the hope of immortality glows in his bosom; he nails the body of sin to the cross, and glories in the act of crucifixion; he is a new creature, actuated by new motives and aiming at new ends. He listens to the truths of Christianity, every one of which finds an echo in his soul. The assaults of infidelity and the doubts and perplexities of his own spirit, are met by the averment, “I know and feel that Christianity is true, -its testimony, its demonstration, are imprinted in indelible characters upon my heart.”
We do not say that all to whom the simple truth of the Gospel is proclaimed, will be converted by its power; that it will carry to every hearer the demonstration of its truth and divinity. Alas! the tearful eyes and sad hearts of the messengers of the cross, both at home and abroad, tell us that it is not so. We hesitate not, however, in declaring our conviction that
the majority, the vast majority, of those who have been brought under the influence of christian truth, have been gained, not by elaborate reasoning on the credibility of the Scriptures, but by the faithful and affectionate application of the contents of these Scriptures to the conscience and heart. Were there not multitudes on the day of Pentecost who, when the evidence of miracles was presented to them, when they heard the apostles speak with fluency and accuracy in languages which they had never learned, said mocking, “ These men are full of new wine,” but who, when Peter declared 66 God hath made this same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ”—cried out, “ Men and brethren what shall we do?” God was not in the earthquake, and not in the fire, but in the still small voice. "The glorious Gospel of the blessed God we possess,” says Dr R. W. Hamilton, “ we verify it by abundance of authentic proofs. Miracle and prophecy surround it with an external divinity, yet were it our business now to arrange its evidences, we should willingly forsake the prouder signs, the more trophied monuments, dwelling upon that intrinsic credibility which it presents in its contrivance and adaptation to engage the faculties and reach the wants of man. He who was its author, knew what was in man, all the motives by which he can be affected, and all the relations in which he stands.”
We have been hitherto employed in contemplating the objective truths of the christian system on the one hand, and the cravings of the human soul upon the other, and we have endeavoured to exhibit the wonderful—the perfect, adaptation. It seems necessary that at this point we should consider, for a little, the mode in which christian truth comes to bear upon the soul, and inquire if the application of Christianity is in accordance with the nature of mind.
The renovation of the human soul is undoubtedly not a physical but a moral change. The soul's introduction to the experience of Divine grace is not a change of its nature. but the origination of a new principle, by the operation of which evil is gradually subdued, and ultimately eradicated. This principle is faith, the perception of the truth, the authority, the importance, and the glory of Scripture statements. Christianity does not, like all systems of idolatry, attach importance to certain mechanical performances; it does not lay stress on the punctual observance of absurd and trifling ceremonies; but it presents to the view of the mind Deity, at once in the most awful and most amiable light as the supreme and universal Governor, immaculately holy, and inflexibly just, and as the universal Parent whose tender mercies are over all his works. The harmonious manifestation of justice and mercy, of righteousness and love, inspires confidence and attracts affection. Man's freedom, as an intelligent and responsible being, is not destroyed, is not interfered with, for truth is brought forward to act upon the intellect and conscience, just as truth is employed in the ordinary affairs of life. Christianity, as we have shown, brings the charge of ill desert against the sinner, and calls on him to repent, to change his mind, to believe in the Divine mercy, and to look to the atonement of the Mediator as the basis of reconciliation; and it declares, that he who thus repents and believes the Gospel, shall experience, from the nature of the truth believed, a renovation of his moral nature, love to God, delight in His law, peace of conscience, a joy above the joys of earth, comfort and support under the difficulties and afflictions of life, and a victory over death.
All holiness is the result of the knowledge and belief of truth. God is holy, perfectly holy, just because He knows-perfectly and eternally knows