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with the conclusion derived from the passages before examined; it shows that Bantisw denotes to purify, that it expresses a solemn corporeal purifying with water, and the purifying of the soul by the Spirit of Christ. As in Jewish usage Hebrew and Greek words, meaning to purify, expressed not only a separation of what was unclean from the person purified, but also a separation of the person from others who were unclean ; so the words Bantico, &c. denote not only the separation of evil from the mind of the Christian, but also the separation of the Christian himself from the world. They who were baptized were purified for the Lord Jesus, symbolically or really purified and consecrated for his service. If the evidence furnished by any of these passages be deemed slight, it should be observed that it is all in favour of the sense purifying and the mode sprinkling ; and that the combination of all these separate proofs has a cumulative force, and amounts almost to a demonstration, that, so far as Scripture history is our guide, no single person was ever dipped into water by the apostles of Jesus Christ.
ON SINNERS PRAYING FOR DIVINE INFLUENCE.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE CONGREGATIONAL MAGAZINE.
ese subjects in responsibility. Min respects man
DEAR SIR,—It is evident to every body, that a great change has taken place of late, in the style of evangelical preaching, and that a still greater change will take place. This change respects many things, but none more than sin and responsibility. Ministers and authors are presenting these subjects in lights, and giving to them a direction, eminently solemn and practical. I hold that it is impossible to calculate the good which must result to the church and the world from such exhibitions and applications of doctrines so momentous and fundamental. If sin is described as essentially and altogether voluntary, and responsibility as always and just according to power, the divine character will be cleared from a host of injurious misrepresentations, the guilt of transgressors will appear possessed of far greater enormity, and increased strength will be given to every argument for righteousness and zeal. I rejoice, therefore, in the spread of the views which Mr. Finney and others have done so much to establish and diffuse. Every bearing of them is deeply interesting to my mind. This is the reason of my troubling you with this letter.
Many, who have adopted these views, have altogether eschewed the practice of exhorting or advising sinners to pray for divine influence, and have condemned it as unscriptural and improper. It is upon this matter that I wish to make a few remarks. I would utter no opinion, bat merely suggest a difficulty. It appears to me, that whether it is right or wrong for sinners to pray for the Holy Spirit, saints must be included in the reasoning and the result. Whatever arguments go to prove that sinners should not do it, go to prove that saints should not. When it is maintained that sinners have no right to do it, it is said that sin arises not from want of power, but from want of will, and that if the will to be holy exist, prayer is unnecessary; if it do not exist, prayer is hypocritical and unjustifiable. I say nothing about the propriety and force of this reasoning. I only ask whether, if true, it may not be as true of perfect holiness as of holiness at all-yea, whether it must not be az true? The reason why Christians are not perfect is as much a want of will to be so, as the reason why sinners are not good. They could be so if they liked, for it would not be their duty to be perfect, which it is, if they were unable. If they will to be so, prayer for divine influence is unnecessary; if not, prayer is hypocritical and unjustifiable. It is the same reason applied in one case to a certain thing; in another, to certain degrees of that thing. I see no escape from the reasoning in reference to perfect holiness, if it be valid in reference to any holiness. Now I have noticed that many and great men, who are in the habit of telling sinners that they must not pray for the Holy Spirit, are in the habit of praying for Him themselves, and of enforcing the custom most earnestly upon saints, and I have wondered at it not a little, convinced that both classes may, and should do it, or neither.
My object is simply to draw the attention of your readers to this subject. I could write much more upon it, but think that perhaps enough has been said to answer the purpose, and your space is too valuable to be occupied without necessity. I remain, dear Sir, yours affectionately,
I. Memoirs of the Life and Labours of Robert Morrison, D.D., F.R.S.,
M.R.A.S., &c. Compiled by his Widow; with Critical Notices of his Chinese Works, by Samuel Kidd, Professor of Chinese in University
College. 2 vols. 8vo. Longman & Co. 1839. II. The Life and Opinions of the Rev. William Milne, D.D., Mission
ary to China, &c. By Robert Philip. 1 vol. 8vo. 1840. Snow.
China is one of the mysteries of Providence ! In numerous aspects of its history, its character, its language, and its policy, it has no parallel in the annals of the world. It stands alone, and hitherto, at least, has preserved its marvellous insulation. Whatever may have been the adventures of commerce and the progress of discovery in modern times, no ordinary or extraordinary attempts to explore it have greatly enlarged our knowledge of the people, or their peculiarities. Such appears to have been the influence of those causes, which, at a remote period, fixed the elements of their national character, that the present race is only a stereotyped impression of antiquity. What passing events may effect in the re-formation of their character, time alone can determine ; but without entering into any disquisition on the lawfulness or the injustice of those aggressive movements which are now affecting the destinies of the “Celestial Empire ;" we may warrantably hope, and ought most fervently to pray, that China, with its millions of immortal beings, may be opened to the admission of pure Christianity. Should future negotiations secure the freedom of commercial enterprise, and provision, at length, be made for the interests of religious liberty, an intellectual emancipation will be gradually effected; the mind of China will be touched at various points by new impulses; the detection of those impostures and delusions, which have spell-bound the intellect of the people for ages, will excite indignation at the thraldom by which they have been oppressed ; they will burst the fetters of their mental slavery; and they will awake to energies, and sympathies, and feelings, of which they were before unconscious. It may be, that in the struggling transition from ignorance and superstition to knowledge and inquiry, there may be a mighty conflict in the collision of opposing elements ; and moral causes may operate slowly in the first stages of social and political change ; but there will be the spiritual enfranchisement in due time; the evidence of truth, by the power of the “ Spirit of Truth," will produce conviction; and it will be ultimately said of China, as of ancient Ephesus, “The word of the Lord grew mightily and prevailed.”
N. S. VOL. v.
It is delightful to think how effectively the cause of missions, in modern times, has been subservient both to the social improvement, and the spiritual interests of nations. This has been the case in civilized, or semi-civilized countries, as well as in savage lands. In the latter instances the contrast is more obvious; but the proof of amelioration is no less certain among nations, in a considerable degree, civilized. The education of children, the elevation of female character, the diffusion of knowledge on various matters connected with science, history, and philosophy ; the habits of inquiry and discussion, enkindling that light which melted away and evaporated the mists and vapours of ignorance, error, and gross delusion, which had long brooded over the minds of men, and had been subservient to the vilest purposes of priestcraft and oppression, are in numerous instances proofs of the beneficial results of Christian missions. All this is irrespective of the power thus developed, by which men are prepared to understand their social rights, and to maintain them. Knowledge, truth, and freedom, are congenial elements. They readily amalgamate ; and their combination must be ultimately conservative of the permanent interests of humanity.'
Nor is this all that well-conducted missionary enterprises have effected, or are capable of effecting, independently of their direct and most important objects. Missionaries have exerted the most benignant influence in allaying animosities; reconciling jarring interests ; protecting the weak from the aggressions of the strong ; interposing to prevent feuds, that otherwise would have been carried on to the utmost extent of ferocity; and have thus rendered themselves the best benefactors of the world!
How different is the estimation now formed of such agents of mercy, from what prevailed even forty years ago. In recent times, and during the present contest with China, important service has been, and is now rendered by individuals of high mental attainments, and still higher moral worth, who are directly or indirectly connected with missionary operations in that country. The volumes before us are full of interesting details, illustrative of the facts we have stated ; and prove, that in this respect, "godliness is profitable to all things," and by its agencies in various forms,“ has the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”
The names of Morrison and MILNE are inseparably bound together in the work of Christian missions. The elder evangelist in this holy cause, during years of labour and privation, had toiled in the enterprise and prepared the way for his no less laborious coadjutor; they were “par nobilissimum fratrum," and in every respect worthy of each other, and of the cause to which they were devoted. An ample and interesting “Review of the First Ten Years of Missionary Work in China,” was published by the younger missionary; and that monument deserves to be imperishable. We have often been surprised that
it was not reprinted and better known in this country; for it bears the impress of a powerful mind and an ingenuous heart. All due honour is rendered to his illustrious precursor ; while the narrative of facts, the literary talent, the graphic representations, and the spirit of ardent and honest devotion pervading his work, entitle it to a distinguished place in the records of missions.
The “Memoirs of Dr. Morrison" ought long ago to have been brought under the attention of our readers ; and we feel that it is specially due to the honoured relict of our friend, who has prepared these interesting volumes, to apologize for our procrastination. It has arisen, we can truly say, from no diminished estimate of the worth of her excellent husband, in every view of his character and attainments; or of the care, ability, and fidelity with which Mrs. Morrison has prepared these “Memoirs of his Life and Labours."
Without any violation of the impartiality which the most fastidious reader might require, everything is in perfect keeping, with all the affectionate and chastened veneration which the character of Dr. Morrison demanded. To an abundant extent she has made the work autobiographical; and if any alteration were to be suggested for the author's future guidance, we should advise the omission of a large portion of the extracts from the Diary, and even many of the Letters, so that the whole might be compressed into one volume. The mistake, as we apprehend, in many biographical works, consists in inordinate expansion ; and if an hydraulic process were applied, it would be of immense advantage.
In our judgment, the selection of private memoranda, and the records of religious feelings, should be most scrupulously circumscribed. They should respect only what is essential to the continuity of a narrative, or the specific illustration of characteristic features. The reader, however devoutly disposed, is soon wearied with the “log-book” recital, which, though necessary to record variations and changes, if it be deemed expedient, is seldom of much interest or importance, except as they perpetuate facts and illustrate mental or moral peculiarities. We apply not these remarks to the volumes before us, as if they were more minute or extended than in other works of the class, both in religious and literary compilation ; but such is our deliberate conviction on the subject, and we are convinced that inconceivably more would be read, if less were related.
The leading incidents of Dr. Morrison's history, and the prominent features of his character, were brought before the attention of our readers soon after the intelligence of his death reached this country. If a reference be made to our extended biographical article on the subject, they will find a more compressed statement than we could conveniently abstract from these volumes.* We shall, therefore, content ourselves
* See Cong. Mag. Vol. 18. (May and June, 1835,) pr. 201—208 ; 265-272.