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Mr. R. Huldane's Letter to M. J. J. Cheneviire, SfC.
(Concluded from page Ml.)
It is now high time that we resumed our account of Mr. Haldane's interesting volume, and brought the article to^a close.
In the extract which we made from it on a former occasion, we gave our readers a specimen of his manly defence of his principles and conduct while at Geneva, where his labours have been eminently successful in planting anew the standard of the cross, and sowing that seed which has already produced a field that is ripening unto harvest. The sentiments formerly maintained, and so ably advocated in that city by the illustrious Calvin, are once more spreading among its citizens, and a Christian Church is formed, not on the Presbyterian, but Congregational plan of government. By letters which we have lately received from the Continent, we are informed that this church is rapidly on the increase: its number of members, we believe, now exceeds one hundred, and the attention of many among them has been lately called to the subject of baptism, on which point a spirited controversy is going oil there. All these things shew that a spirit of enquiry is set on foot in Geneva,—that the attention of men is awakened to the Scriptures, from which the happiest results may be expected.
Another circumstance which augurs favourably for the progress of truth in that quarter of the Continent, is the translation of Scott's Commentary into the French language. This important undertaking has lately been set on foot by Mr. Daniel Wilson, late minister of St. John's chapel, Bedford Row, London, but now Vicar of St. Mary's, Islington. In the summer of 1823, this gentleman made a tour through the Netherlands, France, &c. to Geneva, and has since favoured the public with some interesting particulars concerning his journey, in two volumes of " Letters," addressed to his own family; from which we shall now select a few passages
that have a relation to this subject. On his arrival at Lausanne, he thus proceeds:
"Our kind fellow-traveller and my eldest son are going with me, in a car, to Geneva (thirty miles), that I may lose not a moment in seeing after the translation of Scott. You know that I have been sometime engaged in assisting to have his admirable practical comment on the Scriptures translated into French. The whole body of French Protestant Theology affords no one plain, spiritual, solid exposition of the Holy Scriptures. With immense difficulty, I have found a translator well skilled" in English, accustomed to literary occupation, master of a good style, and of the same sentiments with my author. He has nearly translated the Gospel of St. Matthew. The warm approbation of the design from all quarters exceedingly encourages me to go on; and the tendency to error and excess amongst some pious persons here, makes it more and more important. Still I feel a great doubt whether so large a work will succeed in the present state of things on the Continent. May God order, direct, and bless! I approach Geneva with feelings of peculiar veneration. The name of Calvin stands high amongst the Reformers, Divines, and Scholars of the sixteenth century. There is no man to whom I owe so much as a commentator. The reproaches cast so liberally on what is called Calvinism in England are, for the most part, either the effect of pure ignorance, or of dislike to spiritual religion—as moderate men of all parties now agree in allowing. The excesses and daring spirits of too many modern religionists have no warrant in the writings of Calvin. A more sober, practical, holy writer, generally speaking, does not exist. There was, undoubtedly, something harsh in his character; he carried his acuteness too far in his system of divinity, so as to overstep, in my judgment, that exact moderation of the Sacred Writings; and in his scheme of church government, he followed not the Episcopalian, but the Presbyterian model. But; after all these deductions, he was amongst the very first men of his own, or any other age; and the objections raised against his writings in modern times might be as well raised against what the Scriptures state of the fall of man, of salvation by grace, of justification by faith, of regeneration by the Holy Spirit, and of holy obedience as the fruit of love. In fact, true religion is ever opposed by the pride and sensuality of fallen man; and this opposition sometimes assumes one disguise and sometimes another."
It may not be unacceptable to our readers, to be told that the person whom Mr. Wilson has employed to translate Scott, is one of the pastors of the Church, to which we have above alluded, a man personally known to the Editor of this Magazine, and very competent to the task he has engaged in. Speaking of him, on another occasion, Mr. Wilson thus writes:
"I have been three or four hours with my chief translator. He is evidently an amiable, pious, sensible, scholar-like young man ; but dejected, feeble in health, and of a tender, and perhaps something scrupulous mind. St. Matthew is translated in the rough, and part of it is copied."
"I spent the evening, yesterday, with my translator at Geneva; saw what he had done in the translation, and fixed a meeting with some friends on the same business for next week. I met in the course of the evening several persons of much piety and tenderness of spirit."
Hut the following extract, which we make from towards the close of the volume, will be peculiarly interesting to many of our readers. It is under date of October 2nd.
"Eight o'clock.—I have had a meeting with the translators of Scott, and have been delighted. All is going on well. The chief translator has a secretary to copy the manuscript—every thing promises that St. Matthew will be ready_forthe press in a few months. I was introduced to a French minister of Hamburgh, of rare talents, and as rare piety, who will, I trust, help me. I shall, however, have enough to do, both here and at Paris, to arrange details. As I went to the meeting, I called on one of the professors of the University. I was grieved at the spirit of prejudice and bigotry which he showed against all sorts of evangelical trutli—a harsh, violent, unpracticable man —a Socinian, apparently, in principle. He really frightened me by his tierce attack on spiritual religion. O what a blessing to have been educated in sounder views of the Gospel of our Lord and Saviour, and to have some hope that we know and love that Saviour in sincerity of heart! I forgot to say, that my friend,
the Professor of Lausanne, told me that he had distributed near eight thousand Bibles in his Canton, and finds that six' thousand more will be wanted, in order to supply the whole deficiency; he has also nearly raised a fund, the interest of which will supply the poor of the Canton de Vaud with Bibles in perpetuity. How much solid good may one man do, and a man who, in some respects, may be deemed too fearful; and what a blessing is the Bible Society, to present a suitable object to such a man!
"Friday Evening, half-past nine, Oct. 3. This morning, at nine, I accompanied some pious friends to Satigny, about six miles from Geneva. The morning was wet, but the ride was through a fine country. Satigny contains about one thousand two hundred souls; towards whom the minister I went to visit is a true shepherd. We had a committee of four hours on the affair of Scott's Bible. My friend from Hamburgh has agreed to undertake the translation of Milner's Church History, and thus relieve my chief translator of a work for which he was engaged, and leave him at liberty for devoting himself to Scott. We returned from Satigny about four; and as soon as I had dined, I went to hear a minister preach, who was some time since removed from his office in the college at Geneva on account of his evangelical sentiments. I was pleased. His manner was so pathetic, so calm, so persuasive, and his matter, upon the whole, so edifying, that I have scarcely heard any thing like it since I left London. He is an excellent man, a deeply pious, spiritually-minded Christian, and a preacher of first-rate powers: there is an inexpressible unction in all he delivers. Still his doctrine is a little too high, in my opinion, to be quite scriptural or safe in the long run; he does not sufficiently unite the preceptive and cautionary parts of Holy Writ with what are considered the consolatory and elevating—a fault not important in a single discourse, but infinitely momentous as extending over the whole system of a Minister's instructions; and more especially if he stand almost alone, or be watched and suspected by his superiors in the church, or attract particular observation on account of the difficulties of his situation. I am sure the Reformers well understood this. Still the sermon did me good. I passed over what I thought less scriptural; and was edified, animated, cheered by the general tenor of the address."
As the translation of Scotl's Commentary is certainly a very desirable thing, one is naturally anxious to know what progress was made in it during
Mr. Wilson's stay on the Continent— but, on this subject, we can give our friends no more information than is contained in the following paragraph, which forms part of a letter, written by him, while at Paris, on his way homewards, about the end of October, 1823,. which is of rather a discouraging nature.
"Translation of Scott.—I must not omit also to tell you, that I spent a large part of my time in arranging the translation of Scott's Comment. I found a competent and pious minister, to whom I promised aid for preparing an accurate text of the gospel itself, verifying the references, revising the translation for the last time, correcting the proofs, and carrying St. Matthew through the press. I formed also a committee for settling terms with the printer, drawing up a prospectus, and inspecting the due circulation of the work. I found that I should be obliged to advance all the expences for printing St. Matthew; and it was agreed upon, to send round this Gospel pretty freely to the chief Protestant ministers of the Continent, gratis, with terms of subscription for the continuance of the work; and to be guided by the success of such subscriptions, as to the further translation of the Comment or not. Since my return home, the revision and preparation for the press have been unremittingly carried on, and the conditions with the printer and paper-maker nearly settled. Some months must, however, elapse before the Gospel can be published. A literary undertaking of such importance is continually impeded by unexpected difficulties. In the mean time, the preparation of St. Mark i» considerably advanced at Geneva. The translation of Milner's History is, I hope, going on at Brussels.—I forwarded a copy of the original work immediately upon my return home. I consider this undertaking only second in importance to that of Scott."
We were somewhat disappointed at finding so little notice taken in these volumes of the Missionaries employed by the Continental Society in preaching the Gospel in various parts of the Continent. But as these labourers in the Lord's vineyard do not follow with Mr. Wilson, he perhaps did not think them entitled to his particular notice. This, indeed, is nqtof much importance; we trust they obtain the notice and approbation of Mr. Wilson's Lord and Master, and having that, they can readily dispense with that of the servant. Vol. x.
The First Principles of Religion, collected and arranged as a help for those that are unskilful in the word of righteousness; and as a memorial for the teachers of youth. By Joseph Gibb, Minister of the Gospel in Banff. The third edition, improved. London, Baynes and Son, Paternoster Row; and Jones, Lovell's Court, 1824, pp. 172, 12mo. pr. 2s. 6d. bds.
When the former edition of this little volume reached our hands, we reported favourably of it, as our readers may find, by turning to our Magazine, vol. vi. p. 119. It has now attained to a third edition, and, as we think, appears in a considerably improved state. Mr. Gibb has very judiciously subdivided it into parts, and prefixed appropriate heads and titles to each of them, which is a great relief to the reader, affording suitable pauses and resting places, as well as facilitating the means of occasional research. Not having the former edition at hand, we are unable to institute a comparison between the two, but we think we meet with traces of the worthy Author's correcting hand in numerous instances, and are, therefore, increasingly satisfied of the justness of our former commendation of it. That our readers may have a fair specimen of the Author's ability in illustrating scriptural subjects, we will now lay before them one of his Questions, (No. 66,) with the whole of the answer or illustration which he has subjoined to it —only premising, that when he says circumcision is an ordinance of the same signification and design with Christian baptism, we do not yield an unqualified assent! But that is a topic which we need not discuss in this place.
"What were the principal positive institutions, of a religious kind, by which Christ and his salvation were darkly prefigured to the Old Testament Church, and which areclearly explained and applied in the New Testament?
"1. Circumcision was instituted in the days of Abraham, as the initiating token of God's covenant, a seal of the righteousness of faith, and an emblem of spiritual purification from sin by Jesus Christ, being an ordinance of the same signification and design with Christian baptism.—Gen. xvii. 9—14. Rom. iv 11. ii. 28, 29. Col. ii. 11, 12.
2. The passover, and the feast of unleavened bread connected with it, wer€
instituted as a memorial of the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt, and a figure of our redemption by Christ our passover, which is sacrificed for us; and this redemption is commemorated by the feast of the Lord's supper, which believers are commanded to keep with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.—Exod. xii. 3—27. I Cor. v. 6—8.
3. The tabernacle and temple were reared up to be the dwelling-place of the God of Israel, and his glory filled them. Exod. xxvi. 1—30. xl. 34. 38. 2 Chron. iii. 1—9. vii. 1—3. These were figures of the body of Jesus, in which the Son of God tabernacled on earth, when his disciples beheld his glory. John i. 14. ii. 19 —21. They were likewise figures of the mystical body of Jesus, or the churches of his saints, in which he dwells by his holy Spirit. Eph. ii. 20—22. 1 Cor. iii. 16, vi. 19. 2 Cor. vi. 16. The most holy place was also a figure of heaven itself, the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched as his everlasting habitation.—Heb. viii. 1,2. ix. 11, 12,23,24.
4. The holy place was divided from the most holy by a veil. Exod. xxvi. 31—33. This was a figure of the flesh of Jesus Christ, which was rent upon the cross, that a new and living way of access unto God and heaven, might be opened for guilty men.—Mark xv. 3T, 38. Heb. x. 19, 20.
5. The ark stood in the most holy place, the tables of the covenant were kept in it, and it was covered by the mercy-seat, where God was propitious to his people. Exod. xxv. 10—17. 21, 22. This was a figure of Jesus, who had the divine law in his heart, and who is the propitiation by which sinners have access to God.— Psal. xl. 6—8. Rom. iii. 21—25. 1 John ii. 2.
6. Two cherubims of gold were made on the ends of the mercy-seat, with their faces looking towards it. Exod. xxv. 18 —20. These represented the angels, who minister around the throne Of God, and who earnestly pry into the mystery of the Church's redemption by Christ. 1 Pet. i. 12. Eph. iii. 8—10. They also prefigured the future glory of all the redeemed in being admitted into the heavenly temple to surround the throne, and take part with the holy angels in the enjoyment and service of God and the Lamb for ever.— Rev. iv. 6—11 ; v. 8—14.
7. God granted his people access to himself in his house, and hearkened to the petitions which they prayed towards it. 1 Kings viiu 29. 38. 42. 44. 2 Chron. vii. 12—16. The Father now grants men access to himself through Jetus Christ, and hears the prayers that are
presented in his name.—Eph. ii. 18. John xiv. 6. 13,14. xv. 16. xvi. 23, 24.
8. Aaron and his sons were chosen and called by God to minister unto him as priests. Exod. xxviii. 1. Christ was chosen and called of the Father to be the High-Priest of his people. Heb. v. 1—6. 10. His spiritual seed are all chosen and called to be priests unto God.—1 Pet. ii. 5.9.
9. Aaron and his sons were washed with water, clothed with peculiar garments, anointed with oil, and consecrated with blood, that they^ might be hallowed to minister in the priest's office. Exod. xxix. 1—35. Jesus, who had no sin, was baptized with water, clothed with perfect righteousness, anointed with the Holy Ghost, and consecrated with his own blood, that he might minister for ever as a High-Priest. Matt iii. 13—16. Acts X. 38. Heb. vii. 27. 2S. x. 29. The spiritual seed of this High-Priest have their bodies washed with pure water by baptism; and as Aaron's sons were anointed in his garments, so the disciples of Jesus are all clothed with the perfect robe of his righteousness; they are anointed with his Holy Spirit, and consecrated to be priests with his precious blood.—Heb. x. 22. 2 Cor. v. 21. i. 22. Rev. i. 5, 6.
10. Aaron's rod budded, bloomed, and yielded almonds; and it was carefully preserved'in the most holy place, as a token against the rebels who had murmured at his advancement, and an abiding evidence of his exclusive right to the priesthood. Numb. xvii. 1—10. After Jesus had entered the heavenly tabernacle to minister as a priest, the gospel, which was sent out of Zion as the rod of his strength, budded and brought forth fruit, by the conversion of many sinners; as a token against his murmuring enemies, and an abiding evidence that his ministry as a Priest, within the true holy place, is exclusively acceptable unto the Father.—Psal. ex. 1—4. Isa. ii. 3. Acts ii. 1—*. 33 —41. Col. i. 5, 6.
11. The priests offered a lamb every morning and evening, as a continual burntofFering for Israel. Exod. xxix. 38—42. This was a figure of Jesus, the Lamb of God, offered for the redemption of sinners. —John i. 29. 36. 1 Pet. i. 18,19.
12. The high priest offered a sin-offering to make an atonement for all Israel, once every year. Lev. xvi. 9. 29—34. Jesus was once offered to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, and as his offering was of infinite value and efficacy, it did not need to be repeated.—Heb. ix. 26, 28. x. 9-14.
13. The bodies of those beasts whose blood-was brought into the sanctuary by the high-priest for sin, were burnt with
Gibb's First Principles Of Religion.
out the camp. Lev. "xvi. 27. Jesus, also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate of Jerusalem. Heb. xiii. 11, 12.
14. The high-priest took the blood of itonement within the, veil, and sprinkled it upon the mercy-seat, and before the mercy-seat. Lev. xvi. 14, 15. Jesus fulfilled this when he entered into the true holy place by his own precious blood, which is therefore called the blood of sprinkling.—Heb. ix. 7—12. 23,24. X. 11, 12. 19. xii. 24.
15. The high-priest offered sweet incense, in the most holy place, on the day of atonement. Lev. xvi. 12, 13. Jesus offers the sweet incense of his intercession in heaven.—Heb. vii. 25. Rev. viii. 3,4.
16. An omer of manna was put in a golden pot, and laid up before the Lord in the most holy place, to be preserved for succeeding generations. Exod. xvi. 32—34. This was a figure of Jesus the true bread, which remains in the heavenly temple, to be for ever enjoyed by his saints.—John vi. 48—51. Rev. ii. 17.
17. The Israelites were sprinkled with blood and the ashes of a heifer, as a purification for sin and for uncleanness. Exod. xxiv. 8. Numb. xix. 2—6. 9. 17 —19. The consciences of believers are purged, and their persons are sanctified by the precious blood of Christ.—Heb. ix. 13,14. xiii. 12.
19. A laver, or sea of brass containing water, was placed between the brazen altar and the sanctuary, and the priests were commanded to wash their hands and their feet thereat when they approached to minister unto the Lord. Exod. xxx. 18—21. 1 Kings vii. 23—32. Jesus has opened a fountain for the uncleanness of his people : and, to fit them for ministering unto God as priests, he cleanses them by the washing of waler, of his word, his blood, and his Spirit.—Zech. xiii. 1. 1 John i. 7. John iii. 5. xv. 3. Eph, v. 25—27. Titus iii. 5, 6. Rev. i. 5, 6. Heb. x. 19. 22.
19. The priests were partakers of the altar, as they ate of the sacrifices; they also eat of the shew-bread, which was set upon the pure table before the Lord continually on every Sabbath. Exod. xxvi. 1—8. xxv. 23—30- Lev. vi. 14—18. 25. 26. 29. vii. 1—6. xxiv. 5—9. Christians have an altar and a table, of which they partake outwardly and periodically, by eating the Lord's supper; and of which they constantly partake in a spiritual manner, by receiving Christ as their sacrifice, and living on him by faith as their heavenly bread.—Heb. xiii. 10. 1 Cor. x. 16—18. John vi. 55—58.
20. A golden candlestick was placed
over against the table, to give light to the priests that ministered in the holy place. Exod. xxv. 31—40. xxvi. 35. This prefigured the manner in which Jesus Christ enlightens bis Church by his word, his ministers, and his Holy Spirit.—John i. 4 —9. viii. 12. 2 Peter i. 19. Rev. i. 16. 20. iv. 5.
21. The priests daily offered incense on the golden altar, before the veil. Exod. xxx. 1—8. 34—36. The saints of Jesus minister in the house of God, as a holy priesthood, by offering up the spiritual incense of prayer and praise, which is rendered acceptable before God by the ministry of Christ their High-Priest.—I Peter ii. 4, 5. Heb. xiii. 15. iv. 14. 16. Rev. viii. 3, 4.
22. Aaron and his sons were appointed to bless the people, in the name of the Lord. Numb. vi. 22—27. Lev. ix. 22, 23. The Father sent his Son Jesus to bless his people in an effectual manner, Acts iii. 26. Christians as a holy priesthood, are appointed to bless all men, by praying for them and doing good to them, as they have opportunity.—1 Pet. ii. 5. iii. 8, 9. Mat. v. 44.
23. The Israelites were commanded to bring a sheaf of the first-fruits of their harvest unto the priest; he was appointed to wave the sheaf before the Lord on the morrow alter the Sabbath; and they were not permitted to eat any of their fruits, until alter they had presented this offering unto God. Lev. xxiii. 9—14. Jesus arose from the dead, on the morrow after the Jewish Sabbath, as the first-fruits of them that slept.—Mark xvi. 1, 2. 9. 1 Cor. xv. 20.
24. At the end of fifty days after the Israelites had offered this sheaf unto God, they were appointed to bring a new meatoffering of the first-fruits unto him, and observe a holy convocation, as a memorial of the giving of the law in Sinai. Lev. xxiii. 15—21. At the same season of the year, and fifty days after the resurrection of Christ, he sent down the Holy Ghost upon the apostles, enabled them to preach his gospel to the Jews, and made it the effectual means of gathering in three thousand converts, as a kind of first-fruits unto God.—Acts ii. 1—4. 32—47. Jam. i. 18.
25. The Israelites were appointed to keep the feast of tabernacles annually for seven days, which commenced after they gathered in the fruit of their land, on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, and during that period they were commanded to dwell in booths, and to rejoice before the Lord, bearing branches of palm-trees in their hands; as a memorial of the manner in which he made them to dwell intents when he brought them out of the land of