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been directed to the state of our relations with the United States of America. We were prepared for the rejection by the American Senate of a treaty negotiated by an unpopular Minister, and recommended by a still more unpopular and almost defunct President. But we were not prepared for the tone in which its rejection was proclaimed by one who, from his position, might be supposed to speak with some degree of authority. Happily, all parties in this country are agreed as to the course to be pursued. It is felt by all, that, in proposing to leave all matters in dispute to the arbitrament of an impartial tribunal, and undertaking to abide by its decision, we have done all that can be expected of a Christian people. If this proposal is to be met by the demand of an apology for conduct which we believe to have been just and right, and the advancement of fresh claims amounting to hundreds of millions, we can only meet such demands by a calm refusal, in the hope that the time may soon arrive when reason and justice may prevail, and America may cease to ask for such terms as were never yet proposed to any but a conquered and humbled people.
Spain.— The Spanish Cortes have determined by a majority of 214 to 71 in favour of a monarchical form of government; but they have not yet succeeded in finding a king. The Duke de Montpensier is the only man who has been named who appears to be willing to accept the Sovereignty. The objections to him seem to be, first, that he is not a Spaniard ; and secondly, that he is a Bourbon. If the Spanish people really desire a monarchy, it is not improbable, in the dearth of candidates, that these objections, formidable as they are, will be disregarded, and that the least creditable portion of Guizot's foreign policy will eventually prove successful. The debates on the subject of Religion have been exceedingly interesting. Some noble speeches have been made in defence of religious freedom, though we regret to add that some of its advocates have disgraced their cause by avowals such as have not been heard in any public assembly since the days of the first French Revolution. The following articles form part of the new Constitution :
“ 20. The nation undertakes to maintain the Roman Catholic religion, and to support its clergy."
"21. The public or the private exercise of any other form of worship is guaranteed to all foreigners resident in Spain, without other restrictions than the universal rules of morality and right. If any Spaniard profess any other religion than the Catholic, the privileges and provisions in the foregoing paragraph are applicable to them.”
The first of these articles was carried by a majority of 178 to 75, and the second by 164 to 40. The majority in the latter case would have been much larger, if it had not been that above 70 Deputies, who approved of the principle, objected to the wording, and, consequently, abstained from voting. When it is remembered that these will now form part of the Constitution of the country of the Inquisition, it will be seen what a mighty change has passed over the spirit of its people ; -and it will be no matter for surprise that some, while throwing off the terrible superstition which has so long blinded and enslaved them, have failed to catch that purer light which alone could have preserved them from the darkness of infidelity. An able correspondent of the leading journal has pointed out that the principle of religious liberty in Spain is not the sudden offspring of revolutionary zeal, but that it had been gradually formed and strengthened by successive struggles for many years past. Its progress is marked by the abolition of criminal penalties for heresy in 1841, by the abolition of political disabilities attached to heresy in 1854, by the suppression of monasteries, and by the extinction of the Inquisition.
New Zealand.- Afflicting news has been received during the last month from New Zealand, that European settlements have been treacherously attacked, and European men, women, and children massacred in cold blood. One of these Europeans was a Wesleyan missionary, who had spent thirty years in the country, and was generally respected and loved by his own people. Still these lamentable outbreaks do not materially alter the general view we took in our last number, of the hope of a gradual restoration of peace between the races. They only show how bitter is the enmity of a few warlike tribes at the confiscation of their lands; and how incautiously that measure of confiscation was carried into effect, under the political circumstances of the country, and upon the eve of the removal of the British army.
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.
We have received from the Rev. W. Roberts a strong remonstrance against a
brief notice of his history of Balaam, which appeared in our March Number. Mr. Roberts objects to being classed among the “ Broad Church," and contends that his views regarding eternal punishment have been misunderstood by our Reviewer. He adds, “In point of fact, I always have held, and still do hold, to what is called the 'orthodox' doctrine on this subject. I hold to it, because I submit to Scriptural authority in this matter of doctrine, and because I can see no escape from it on Scriptural grounds." We feel it to be an act of justice to insert this distinct disclaimer of the views imputed by our Reviewer to Mr. Roberts, and regret the error into which he has fallen in his cursory notice of Mr. Roberts' book.
THE PENITENT THIEF. (Unpublished Letter of the late Rev. Henry Venn, Vicar of Huddersfield, Author of " The
Complete Duty of Man," to Sir Sidney Stafford Smythe, Lord Chief Baron of the Exchequer, a Privy Councillor, and, in 1771, a Commissioner of the Great Seal, under which he presented Mr. Venn to the Rectory of Yelling.)
Huddersfield; March 5, 1763. DEAR SIR,—Compassion has no doubt often excited painful sensations in your breast, when your high office has obliged you to condemn your miserable fellow-creatures to death. Permit me now, upon your return from executing this disagreeable part of judgment, to fix your thoughts upon a notorious criminal, from whom I apprehend the firmest grounds for consolation and rejoicing may be collected,-I mean the thief saved on the Cross. As divines generally comment on his case, it serves little to either purpose. The common interpretation is, that this fact was designed only to keep late penitents absolutely from despair. And then great pains are taken to convince us this was an instance by itself, never to be again expected. By this means, this example of a brand plucked out of the burning for the most magnificent and striking display of Christ's glory, is overlooked ; and the fact itself, though one of the most extraordinary of all recorded in the book of God, is sunk almost into oblivion. I shall endeavour, therefore (assured, if I succeed, of giving you and Lady S. no small pleasure), to prove that there is not a more illustrious example in the whole Bible, and a clearer demonstration of every doctrine which is of the essence of the Gospel in any one single instance, than in the thief saved on the cross.
Greatly in favour of this conclusion, I apprehend, are the circumstances which accompanied the death of our God and Saviour. Everything which immediately followed this sovereign act of mercy to the expiring thief, proclaimed aloud the Vol. 68.—No.379.
Divinity of Christ. The graves opened, and the earth shook, and the rocks were rent, and the sun was turned into darkness. Methinks, therefore, the fact which is recorded with these phenomena, should have something in it as full of wonder, and of the glory of Christ, as these other signs which attended His crucifixion : whether it will appear to be so, considered in the following light, is humbly submitted to your judgment.
The most wise and able instructors have principally excelled others as they attained the art of summing up evidence for the truth, so that the whole might flash in upon the mind all at once, and be collected as it were in a point. With this view, I think, He who taught as well as spoke in a manner no man could ever equal, made choice of the dying thief, far less for his own soul's sake than for the instruction and consolation of His Church. He made choice of this notorious felon, that in Him, beyond the power of all reasonable dispute or doubt, every doctrine taught by Jesus in His own person, and transmitted to His apostles and all succeeding ministers for them to. declare, might be fully exemplified, and with the greatest lustre. This will be manifest, I apprehend, from the following particulars.
First, the grand doctrine to which all the prophets give witness, which the Redeemer was incarnate to establish, and taught with His own mouth, was that sinners are saved by grace through faith, and that not of themselves, it is the gift of God. Now how shall this capital article, which wounds human pride in the apple of its eye, be established ? Arguments, though ever so plain, may by much art and cavil be perplexed; and declarations, though ever so positive, evaded. But facts are more stubborn, and least of all liable to perversion. Behold, therefore, a sinner saved in such circumstances, that he has not so much as the shadow of one good work belonging to him. For look back upon his past life; if it had not been abominable, there is no reason to think his death would have been so full of infamy. Had his crime not been some aggravated act of robbery and violence, there is no sufficient reason why he should have been gibbeted in terrorem. And to prevent our supposing he might be brought to repentance in his prison, and be previously well-disposed by having heard either the preaching of Christ or His fame, St. Matthew informs us that both the thieves railed on Christ, i.e. at first.
Now, all these circumstances considered, this thief was one of the most proper subjects in the whole world to become an overlasting pillar and ground of the great truth, that the justification of sinners is absolutely free, bestowed on account of nothing they can do and offer, but entirely for the sake of what Christ has done and suffered. Here is enough (if anything but the judgment-day can suffice) to silence for ever the cayils of self-righteousness; for this enormous offender, the very first moment he put his trust in Jesus, instantly received remission of his sins, though they reached unto the heavens; and righteousness was imputed to him without works.
If it is said, (as what will not pride advance, sooner than put its mouth in the dust,) the thief did many good works whilst upon the cross, we may reply, according to the same way of reasoning, that he who stretched forth his withered hand contributed not a little to his own cure; and that the afflicted and oppressed who looked unto Jesus, saying, “Lord, thou Son of David, have mercy on us,” may put in a claim of helping themselves. If the absurdity is glaring in the one case, so it is in the other. And the conclusion is plain, as our Homilies infer, which, speaking of this very fact, urge it as a proof that one man was saved who never did any good work. (First Part of Homily on Good Works.)
Secondly. It is a capital doctrine of the Gospel, not only that sinners are justified freely, but that no continuance in sin, no repetition of crimes though of the worst kind, shall prove any obstacle to their pardon and acceptance, when once they with broken hearts come to Christ Jesus the Lord. How difficult it is to believe this, no one can fully conceive till he has had to do with sinners who have been unhappy enough to have aggravated their natural guilt and daily sins of ignorance, negligence, and infirmity, by premeditated rebellion against God, or other grievous offences. All who have to deal with such convinced sinners, will hear them frequently declaring they possess the iniquities of their youth; that past sins, more appalling than the most frightful apparitions, haunt them; and particular instances of wickedness, like Abel's blood, seem in their fears to have a tongue, and to cry unto God for vengeance. And shall such distressed souls find no balm in Gilead to heal their wounded spirits? Who that has the lowest feelings of humanity would not wish for some precedent to urge as a foundation for their hope? Who would not rejoice to be able to point them to an instance in which all they condemn and loath themselves for having committed, is to be plainly seen, and yet the transgressor absolved and now in glory. Such an instance is only to be found in the thief saved on the Cross. It is true the Saviour had often with His own mouth declared, that whosoever came to Him He would in no wise cast out. He had often also chosen and received to Himself the chief of sinners. But in all these instances, there was time and space for the full discovery of their new birth. Their sins were not aggravated by a continuance in them till death was at the door. They were none of them, therefore, such striking witnesses of the efficacy of the Divine righteousness, and the atoning blood, as this malefactor. All longsuffering