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instructor; those who “ought for the time to have been teachers, required to be taught over again the elementary principles of the divine oracles;”, popular ignorance overspread the prostrate church; Christians, ceasing themselves to be priests, surrendered their clerical and holy character to an apocryphal sacerdotal order; and finally, the dignities and immunities conferred upon the rulers of the Church by Christian emperors, completed the transformation of the ministry, appointed by our Lord, into a political institution.
There is a passage in a subsequent letter of Mr. Knox's, which seems to us to point out a very widely spread error intimately connected with one of the main causes of spiritual declension in Christian communities. "Is it,' he asks, the actual
design of Established Churches, so far as we can gather, to 'make adult converts?' We beg leave to vary the question thus: Is it the main design of the pastoral office, or of any churches, established or non-established, to make adult converts ? We give the reply in Mr. Knox's words.
It seems to me as clear as the sun at noon, that making adult converts is not the great ultimate object of the Gospel. On the contrary, I must regard it as but a preparatory, less perfect, supplemental operation; necessary, beyond doubt, in the first instance, and, so far as it takes place, a happy and valuable thing, in itself; the more so as, in any state of things ever yet existent, it has been indispensable to the support of Christ's spiritual kingdom in the world. Still, I say, something far more perfect is to be looked for, and in reality, must come, in order to the fulfilment of the prophecies. What this will be, Baxter clearly tells us in his “ Saints' Rest,” where he says : “ I do verily believe, that if parents did their duty as they ought, the word, publicly preached, would not be the ordinary means of regeneration in the Church, but only without the Church, among infidels.” The position is next to self-evident; since it is, clearly, the yet real infidelity of the professionally Christian world that leaves room for adult conversions ; and thus, what Baxter supposes as morally certain, is the very description of future circumstances given by the Prophets. « They shall no more teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord; for they shall all know me, from the least to the greatest.” When, then, they are not to acquire the knowledge of the Lord from their coevals (their neighbours and brethren), how are they to come to it? No other way, clearly, but by having been “ brought up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Thus, only, could public teaching be superseded; and accordingly, we see, it is not said, nor every one his child.” On the contrary, this must be supposed; as the knowledge must come through some channel : and, as it can only come, now, by public teaching, when it does not come through education; so, it can only come then, by education, when it is not to come by public teaching. There are but the two methods : and the ceasing of the one, implies the prevalence of the other; as the manna fell no
VOL. XIII. N.S.
more, when the children of Israel had once eaten of the corn of the Promised Land.
. I own, to me, this prospect appears as delightful as it is rational. The whole history of the Church seems to me to concur in evincing, that there is an inherent, almost incurable imperfectness, in strictly adult conversions. I mean, those, where no early foundation had been laid, and the child in no respect trained in the way that he should go. I imagine that, with some bright exceptions, these instances would not, often, manifest more than the lower degree of goodness, which St. Paul describes to us, in the two cases of the Corinthians and the Galatians,-I might add, of the Hebrews also. On the other hand, at that very period of the Christian Church, when the converting influences of Divine grace had been at their height, and when more adults were brought into the Church together, than at any time since, we find St. Paul passing, comparatively, by all those multitudes, and fixing on one individual, to whom he gives, without fear, that confidence which he found abused by so many others. “I have none like-minded; for all men seek their own things, and not the things of Jesus Christ.” And why was Timothy thus (like Jabez of old), “ so much more honourable than his brethren?" The reason is assigned :-“ Because, from a child, thou hast known the Holy Scriptures; ”because “ the faith which dwelt first in thy grandmother, Lois, and in thy mother, Eunice, I am persuaded, dwells in thee also.” See, here, the clear ground of St. Paul's reliance on Timothy; and see, also, why he admonishes fathers not to provoke their children, lest they should be discouraged. He knew well, that the cause he had at heart could not fully prosper, but in proportion as such characters as Timothy were formed; which, again, he was well persuaded, could be formed only by means of early training.
But did St. Paul hope for what he desired? I conceive, clearly not; for, if he had so hoped, he would not so repeatedly and emphatically have predicted perilous times and fallings away. But why did he not hope for it? As it strikes me, because he saw so few Christians going on themselves, from the state of babes in spiritual things, to the state of establishment and maturity. He saw, no doubt, that they, who knew nothing but first principles, and had got those in the way of adult conversion, could not, in the nature of things, discharge the duty of religious education. Their own case being so different from that of their children, they would be liable to endless error, by arguing from the one to the other; and to spoil what they wished to accomplish, through bonest, but mistaken earnestness to make their children feel as they had felt themselves. The case was, doubtless, far otherwise with those of them who proceeded onward from spiritual infancy to spiritual manhood : for this progress implies self-education; and consequently, the mature Christian, having educated himself, has in some measure learnt to educate his children. Nothing can be plainer, than that adult conversion supposes both means and movements, not only different from, but in some respects contrarious to, those which belong to early training ; but it is as plain, on the other hand, that the advancing course from merely sensitive, to reflective and matured piety, must have in it many things sub
stantially identical with what is implied in “ bringing up children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Had, therefore, St. Paul seen more of such mature piety, we may presume, his hopes for the future would have been brighter; but his Epistles tell us, that those not addressed by him were far more generally sincere than grown Christians; consequently, as in the mean time he had but one Timothy, so he did not reckon on the rising of many Timothys in future.
* To this hour, I conceive, the same causes lead to the same consequences. God has, some way or other, kept up his Church ; but whatever other means have been used for this purpose, the education of the children of adult converts has seldom yet materially contributed to it. Therefore, in no instance yet, has a providential plan of reinvigoration implied permanence. The warmest piety of the Fathers has undergone a change, if not manifested a declension, in the sons ; and in a third generation, little of the religious character has been discernible.
. The truth is, those re-invigorating movements, to which I allude, seem, in general, to have had little other efficacy than in the matter of conversion. Those concerned in them, have seldom understood much beyond this. Individuals have exemplified more ; but even these have seldom been able to enforce on others what they felt themselves. The instances of sincere religion, in such cases, therefore, have been numerous; but those of mature religion few: life was widely diffused ; but growth has been, comparatively, rare. Such societies have been nurseries, rather than schools. Education has gone on but indifferently in themselves; and, of course, still more indifferently in their children.
• If, then, such defects, so deeply affecting individuals, and so unfavourable to their posterity, have existed, and do exist, even where the best influences, in other most important respects, have been in operation : if this was the case, even in the apostolic time, and still remains to be the case, on every recurrence of like circumstances, what would be our ground to hope for better things, on the supposition of even another Pentecost? To this serious question, I think I see a satisfactory answer, in the slow, but sure progress of another providential scheme; a scheme as profoundly adapted to extended and lasting effects, as the converting energy of Divine Grace has been adapted to personal transformation ; a scheme, one and continuous, while converting movements have been numerous and short-lived ; a scheme, lastly, which, from being one and continuous, can be expected to evolve gradually; only to keep pace with the advance of society; and, then only, to manifest its perfect operation, when things in general shall be ripe for it, and the great prophetic season shall have arrived ; while nothing of this kind could be supposed, in the various instances in which the converting influence has manifested itself; the effect, here, requiring a like operation in the first instance as in the last.''
Vol. I. pp. 174–79. Every word of this we feel disposed to adopt. The Writer appears to be approaching the very solution of the all-important problem under consideration. We follow him, paragraph after and all
advancing. We vinable. We home
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paragraph, with our cordial approbation. We anticipate that he is about to point out the beauty of the Domestic Economy; to shew that the pastoral office was never intended to supersede the parental relation; that the Christian Mother was destined to be the teacher, the regenerator of her children ; that every Christian household was meant to be a church; that there is especial encouragement given to parents, to expect the efficient concurrence of the Holy Spirit in thus training up their offspring in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Alas ! instead of this obvious and all but irresistible conclusion, to which we seemed to be so naturally advancing, we are turned back by one of the most violent non-sequiturs imaginable. We find ourselves in a logical cul de sac. In a word,' says Mr. Knox, “reason, experience, ' and Holy Scripture seem, to my apprehension, to put it past all • doubt by their united testimony, that the system of National
Establishments,—which commenced at the time of Constan'tine, is, in spite of all its imperfections, that very growing 'scheme, by means of which will be finally accomplished that “ general and lasting renovation of human society, which we are • so strongly warranted to expect. A thousand years has that
growing scheme' been tested by every variety of experimentwith what result ? That the great apparatus does not as yet
appear to vouch fully' what is here ascribed to it, Mr. Knox admits. On what, then, does he found his chimerical expectation, and his scriptural proof, that it will ever subserve a purpose to which hitherto it has been detrimental and hostile ? Upon nothing more nor less than a doubtful interpretation of an allegorical prophecy in the Apocalypse! We require argument, and are put off with allegory: we ask for text, and are given mere comment. The proof is worthy of the theory.
We must here suspend our observations, for it will be impossible to do justice to these volumes in a single article.
(To be continued).
Art. II.-1. On National Property, and on the Prospects of the present
Administration, and of their Successors. Second Edition, with
Additions. 8vo. pp. 132. London, 1835. 2. Ireland: The Source of her Troubles ; the Policy required. By
Lenio. 8vo. pp. 32. London, 1835. 3. Sir Robert Peels Address reviewed. 8vo. pp. 44. London, 1835. 4. Address of Sir Robert Peel at Tamworth. W HOEVER succeeds to the administration of government at
this juncture of affairs, will have no enviable post. Although, through the goodness of Divine Providence, we are at peace with all the world, and enjoy internal prosperity in most of the branches of productive industry, never, perhaps, was the Minister of this country placed in a more responsible or arduous situation. Time was, when the most serious duties of the Cabinet were, to frame a treaty, or plan a campaign, and to raise loans for subsidizing our continental allies. Military tacticians and skilful financiers might then manage to conduct the affairs of State, and might even pass for heaven-born statesmen. The government of Austria or Russia was then scarcely a simpler affair than the government of England by the machinery of loans, borough votes, and the ecclesiastical janizaries distributed over the country. The unintelligent masses of the population gave no trouble to either their teachers or their rulers. The lazy and discontented were drafted off by the recruiting serjeant; the consumption of war took up the redundant increase ; and the patronage of the crown, diffused through the infinite ramifications of the fiscal system, gave the Minister a species of political omnipresence and omnipotence. This was the golden age of Toryism; and we cannot wonder that it is looked back to with fond regret as the good old times, the glorious times, when the army, the navy, and the Church afforded unlimited patronage and ample means of provision for all the younger scions of the aristocracy; and there seemed to be no limit to the powers of taxation,—to the taxability and loyal endurance of the people. Church and King was then the standing toast in all good company, with confusion to all Jacobins and Dissenters. Cowper's Satires, Crabbe's Village Chronicles, Hannah More's Letters, and the Newgate Calendar bear witness to the Arcadian purity and happiness of England before Methodists and Reformers rose to trouble the State.
But all that is passed. We have a population that must be governed by quite other means, and on widely different principles. It is not merely that we have four-and-twenty millions to deal with instead of twelve, but that a spirit of intelligence has been imparted to the once inert and passive masses, which renders it impossible to hold them in abject subserviency to oligarchical domination. Never, in any age or country, was there concentrated in one community such a mass of active intelligence, so large a number of thinking beings, taught to think and act for themselves, as in England at the present moment. It is the glory of the British sovereign, that he is the ruler, not merely of free men, but of free minds; that among us, law is the executive sovereign, and opinion the legislator who shapes the law, and guards it; that half the business of other governments is here spontaneously and gratuitously done by the people; that the means of instruction, if they are not adequate to the wants of the population, far exceed the State provision ; that if the people are opposed to existing institutions, it is chiefly by being in advance of them; that the public mind has outgrown the forms in which it