Page images
PDF
EPUB

any thing

To suppose, that those who contend' that anger is not sinful per se, but in the degree, and the manner in which it is expressed, mean,' that we may be angry at sin and not at sinners, is at least a mistake of their meaning : but we may be angry at the crime, and at the criminal on that account, without ill-will, nay, without inconsistent with the warmest affection; as every one must know, who' ever felt and expressed decided disapprobation of the misconduct of a dearly beloved wife or child. Indeed, so far is the displeasure shewn on such occasions from being inconsistent with love, that it naturally flows from it, and bears a strict proportion to it. We feel indifferent towards 'that behaviour in a servant, which would awaken our indignation in a child. Wherefore? Because we love the child more than the servant.

The dangers on the side of anger make a strong impression, and very justly, on the mind of R. S.; but is there no danger on the other side ? Are there no such things as cowardice and indolence assuming the guise' of meekness ? Do not all the corrupt propensities of our nature need correcting? Do not some want stimulating to action and decision, while others need a curb and restraint? Is not a Nehemiah in some cases as suited to reform à corrupt church as an Ezra, who, though perhaps more amiable, was too timid? Who, looking at our Lord's example, and remembering that Stephen, and Peter, and Paul, were filled with the Holy Ghost, will deny that they acted right in their most decided lan

guage and conduct against sinners? Yet who would not call it anger in any of us?

The Socinians and others have often attempted to explain away the scriptural language about the divine anger and vengeance, in order, as it appears, to shake off the the fear of future, at least of eternal, punishment. We should be careful, therefore, not to concede in this respect. The language of scripture is peculiarly emphatical and varied on this subject; and there are, perhaps, a hundred places, where anger is ascribed to God, to one where he is spoken of as repenting. And, indeed, how can we conceive of a moral governor, who expresses no decided disapprobation of the crimes by which his subjects injure and destroy one another? Is he love? But partiality to criminals, which swallows up general benevolence, is incompatible with this character.

To sum up the argument. “Love is the ful“ filling of the law.” Every part of our conduct, one towards another, is lawful or unlawful, right or wrong, as it accords to this principle, or the contrary. The simple question then that must decide the lawfulness or unlawfulness . of anger is—Does love ever express itself in this way? Is it one of the many forms which that godlike diposition naturally assumes ? As there are occasions on which our love will spontaneously manifest itself by grief, joy, &c. are there any supposable occasions on which it may with equal propriety, or necessarily and unavoidably will, shew itself, by anger? The answer,

I think, must be in the affirmative. Let love then, which is the principle of all lawful anger, be also the measure of it let it dictate the occasion, the degree, the duration of our wrath, and then though angry, we shall not sin.

G. S.

7.

MAY, 1810.

A correspondent in your number for March, signing himself Philo, in answer to Mr. Faberand some others also, who have written concerning the three wo-trumpets, the slaying of the witnesses, and subsequent events-seem not to have been well aware, that the first thing to be ascertained is, the precise period when the witnesses began to prophesy in sackcloth ; or, in other words, whence the 1260 years are to be dated. Till this is satisfactorily settled, all other calculations must be vague and inconclusive.

'The sentiments of the above paper so exactly accord with those entertained by the Author of these volumes, and it is in other respects so much in his manner, that the signature G. S., with which it appears in the Christian Observer, could not persuade me that it was not his production. I should not, however, have admitted it in this collection, had I not received additional confirmation of its being from his pen, accompanied with some recollection of its having been revised by the Author's highlyesteemed friend, the late Rev. N. Gilbert, Vicar of Bledlow, Bucks, and by him transmitted to the Observer. If this were the case,

it may account for the initials of the two names being combined in the signature.-J. S.

1

It is expressly said, “ They shall prophesy a “ thousand two hundred and threescore days, “ clothed in sackcloth."Now it is obvious that they were not to prophesy in sackcloth after they had been slain, and were risen, and ascended into heaven. If, then, these events are past, without all doubt the 1260 years have expired: otherwise the witnesses prophesied in sackcloth only a part of the specified time, and not the whole of it.

If the 1260 days, or years, began A. D. 606, they cannot terminate till A. D. 1866, however we divide the intermediate time. If they began sooner, that should be specified and proved. I am one who think that these events are future; but I shall, on many accounts, be glad to be convinced that I am mistaken.

T. S.

[ocr errors]

8.

May, 1810.

I have read many of the Jubilee sermons, and different reviews of the others; but one circumstance, which to me appears a peculiar honour of his Majesty's long reign, has not, that I can find, been so much as hinted at: I mean the extraordinary circumstance of so very few lives having been taken away for state crimes; that is, for any

kind of treason. The last fifty years have embraced many most turbulent and violent scenes. The scaffolds on the continent have streamed

"Rev. xi. 3.

with blood; the blood of human beings, against whom no charge was alleged, except that of læsæ majestatis, in some form or other. Scaffolds have been wholly insufficient for the work of destruction; and vast multitudes have been deprived of life in various ways, on one frivolous charge or suspicion or other, of whom not even the names can be numbered. Britain has been deeply infected with the continental disease : seditions, insurrections, revolutions, have been anxiously feared; and many heinous and peculiarly provoking crimes have been committed : yet who, almost, on this ground, has suffered by the hand of the executioner? When treason was charged on men evidently criminal in no light degree, because treason could not be substantiated, they were acquitted, with at least no avowed disapprobation of the executive branch of the government.--Scarch the history of England, in the most peaceful times; and find, if you can, fifty years, in which so few have suffered death for treason and state crimes. Read the history of the immediately preceding reigns : you will find much greater severity, though they were by no means distinguished for it. Nay, search the authentic history of every nation, and point out, in so large an empire, fifty years in which so little blood has been shed for state crimes; and I will renounce my position as untenable, that the reign of George the third is unparalleled in the history of mankind, for lenity towards that description of criminals, whose offences are directly pointed at the person and authority of the sovereign. That

« PreviousContinue »