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VIEW OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS.
PARLIAMENT has adjourned to the third of The special commissions have opened, February. In consequence of the change and a considerable number of prisoners of ministry; the temporary absence from have been convicted of destroying prothe House of Commons of those members perty, and other acts of rioting and outwho had taken office ; the disturbances in rage. The vigilance employed to repress some of the agricultural districts, which the evil, and the apprehension and trial of demanded immediate attention, and the so many offenders, have already bad a sapresence of persons of local influence; and lutary effect ; and it is hoped that this the necessary immaturity of the intended iniquitous system will speedily be checked. plans of the new cabinet; there has not Abroad, we can only announce, without been much progress in public business comment, the death of the Pope; the during the few weeks of parliamentary purposed recognition of the Belgian consession, and no question has been brought stitution by the powers of Europe ; the forward that indicates the strength of trial and conviction of the four French parties, or the projected counsels of the ex-ministers, who are condemned to percabinet. We therefore gladly embrace petual imprisonment; and the commencethis temporary truce to close the last ment of a revolution in Poland, the Grandpages of our volume apart from political duke Constantine and the Russian troops discussion, however important, and to having been driven from Warsaw, beyond commend to the prayers of our readers the Vistula, and the Poles demanding the the mighty interests, temporal and spi- fulfilment of the promised free constiritual, of this great empire--partially agi- tution, and also the restoration of the intated indeed with party beats and lawless tegrity of their country, as it existed before disturbances, but signally favoured by the the well-known nefarious partition. We Divine blessing, and we trust, nay, we shall have ample opportunities of recur. doubt not, strong in all its solid interests, ring to these and other matters. and the heartfelt union of national brotherhood.
ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.
C. H. H.; VINDEX; A NORTH-Devon CURATE ; E. S. L.; R. G. ; C. P.; JACOB
B. S. ; Philo; S. B.; J. N. C. ; E. B.; S. D.; T. B. ; W. J. N.; H. A.; PHILANTHROPUS ; “ Voice of Reason;” A VERY Constant READER; S. L.; AMICUS VERUS; E.; and S. T., are under consideration. We assure Alpha, that in our animadversions upon the system unfairly, because ex
clusively, called Unitarianism, in our Review of Dr. Smith's work, it was not our wish to speak untruly or uncandidly. Alpha's own remarks are written in a spirit so far the reverse of acerbity, that we should be most readyto discuss with him the subject noticed in his letter, if we saw any benefit likely to arise from it. But if he could disprove all that we or others have said of modern Unitarians, this would not affect the great question of the Scriptural truth or falseness of their doctrine ; and the statements which we might feel it necessary to make, would perhaps only conduce to fruitless irritation upon secondary and personal topics. His admissions, with regard to Mr. Belsham and Dr. Priestley, are much to the honour of his candour. We are as much gratified as J. L. can be with the curious and interesting discoveries
which he has made respecting one of the sources from which Dr. Johnson derived those more correct and spiritual views of religion which distinguished his latter days; and with the extracts with which he has favoured us, from original unpublished letters of the great Moralist's truly heavenly-minded friend. We shall gladly enrich the opening Number of our new volume with the commuuication. We scarcely know what to do with the many Anti-political-economy papers which
have been of late addressed to nis, relative to taxes, the poor, corn, free trade, labourers' wages, machinery, and so forth; and not a few of which, written with the best intentions, are a tissue of popular errors : to insert which, without reply, either by ourselves or others, would be to mislead the minds of some of our readers, and to disprove which would be to write a treatise on political economy. Oxoni. ENSIS will find several of his opinions refuted in the three excellent Lectures just published by Mr. Senior, the Professor of Political Economy in his own university. A VILLAGE CURATE may purchase for one penny a few hints on machinery, published by the Useful-Knowledge Society, which will, perhaps, moderate his humanelyintended displeasure against threshing-machines. We admire BERTHA's patriotic
self-denying renunciation of French gloves; but she is not aware, that, while she thus means to benefit her glover, she injures we know vot how many other people : for, besides paying more money for a worse article (otherwise the case is not in point), thus abridging her own comforts, and wasting the overpaid sixpence, which might have been spent in encouraging manufactures, or otherwise doing good, she has indirectly taken away the bread of starving mechanics and manufacturers, whose glass, or cottons, or hardware, or some other commodity, would have been exchanged, either immediately or through the medium of gold (itself the purchase of manufactures), with the Frenchman for gloves; benefiting also merchants, sailors, and retail shop-keepers-including, perhaps, the very glover himself, who might procure his gloves cheaper from Paris than in his own manufactory. It is, on a large scale, most patriotic, and the way to employ most native hands and increase native riches, to get things where they are best and cheapest. Why not set thousands of people to raise, at great expense, bad and dear hot-house oranges, instead of eating good and cheap ones from abroad? The case is substantialiy the same in any other manufacture, where we can purchase on easier terms than we can raise. For example: we have abundance of native iron and coal, and a dense population, which enable us to make hardware more reasonably than any other nation ; and yet some persons would consider it patriotic (for their argument goes to this) 10 starve Birmingham and Sheffield, and all the inining and hardware districts, rather than allow them to export their commodities to the countries that want them; bringing back the native good and cheap commodities of those countries in return. Bertha must patriotically wear an inferior pair of gloves, and her Paris friend patriotically use a bad pair of scissors, when, by exchanging commodities, both could be accommodated. The Polander wants a garment, and the English manufacturer wants bread; but the land of the former and the industry of the latter are to lie patriotically idle, rather than each should have what he requires. Mr. Wilmot Horton, and others, are urging emigration, as the only cure for our redundant population; but, by manufacturing at home, and getting what we want in exchange from abroad, we virtually emigrate, without stirring from our firesides. The great problem is, not how to protect this or that sectional interest, but how to employ, clothe, and feed, in comfort, the greatest number of our countrymen : and every restriction, monopoly, and protection interferes with this object; it feeds one at a less profitable trade, to starve two at a trade which would protect and pay itself. We almost incline to insert a few of the letters of our anti-political-economy correspondents, with a few friendly comments,
in parallel columns, so as to bring the points at issue fairly before our readers. Having adverted at great length in our November and December Numbers to the case
of Miss Fancourt, and inserted in the present Appendix the able and conclusive letters of Mr. Newnham and Mr. Travers, we might be excused if we considered the affair as set at rest. But, having received numerous other communications upon the subject, we think it requisite to add a Postscript by way of Answer to Correspondents. The letters with which we have been favoured may be reduced to four classes. 1. We have received, in the first place, communications from a variety of quarters, lay,
clerical, medical, and we may add episcopal, approving of the view which we took of Miss Fancourt's case in our November Number, and thanking us for the service which the writers are pleased to think we have done to the church of Christ by our exposition of the subject. Some of these communications would furnish, if necessary, new illustrations to the truth of our statements, both as respects the medical and the theological view of the case ; but we think it hardly requisite to go much further into the question. Those who are not satisfied by this time that there was not the least reason to impute a miracle, are not likely to be satisfied with any new accu
mulations of proof. 2. We have received a second class of letters, written, some of them, in a style the most
vituperative, and with an extravagance we must say worthy of the dark ages. Because we do not believe that a nervous young woman's recovery was miraculous, and are not convinced that the Port-Glasgow professed linguists are Divinely inspired, we are denounced as promoters of infidelity, and stubborn opposers of God, and we know not what besides. It is in vain to reason with fanaticism ; but for sober-minded Christians we think we have written enough ; and for others, we have only to pray and strive that by the blessing of God they may be brought back to
scriptural truth and a sound mind. 3. A third class of writers bave addressed us in a tone different to either of the
former ; agreeing with us that there was no miracle in Miss Fancourt's case, but strongly reprehending us for being biassed, as they think, by false tenderness to the parties concerned, to gloss over a serious delusion, instead of denouncing with solemn expostulation the pretence to modern miracles, whether alleged gifts of healing or
CHRIST. OBSERV. APP. 50
speaking with tongues, and warning our readers against it as a snare of Satan for the destruction of the souls of men. In reply, we can only say that we spoke very decisively on the general question ; but we were unwilling to wound the minds of those who, though deceived as to their inferences from facts, were, as we believed, honest and sincere, and thought they were glorifying God by ascribing to him a revival of miraeulous agency in his church. We were of opinion that a fair solution of the case, conducted with meekness and charity, was the best way to convince the parties themselves of their error, if they thought the cure miraculous, and to lead them to the acknowledgment of the truth. We thought it time enough to speak more strongly if they refused to listen to evidence and common-sense ; or allowed pride or party spirit, after a full exposition of the question, to prevent their recanting their first error.
We have received two or three communications of a fourth class ; concurring in almost all our views on the subject, and denying both the actual revival of miracles and that Miss Fancourt's case is miraculous, but doubting whether we are justified in thinking that there is no sufficient evidence of any miracles having occurred since the days of the Apostles. We shall readily insert temperate and argumentative papers on this subject, the discussion of which is open to our correspondents, on either side. They will, however, perceive, upon reference to our November and December Numbers, that we did not affirm that no post-apostolic miracle has ever occurred, but only that there is not what appears to us“ sufficient proof” of the fact ; such decisive proof, we mean, as would bear to be laid side by side with the miracles recorded in Holy Writ; which we thought it right “ to separate by a line of demarcation from all human narratives.” It is no article of faith with us to take the negative side, any more than the positive, on this question ; but we have serious fears of the recoil, if once we begin to allow the authenticity of miracles not recorded or alluded to in the word of God. Far from wishing to distress any weak or doubting Christian who has learned to attach importance to the supposed miracles either of the earlier post-apostolic or succeeding ages, we think we best minister to his spiritual repose and stability, when, leaving all such narratives to find their level, we detach them from the line of evidence which applies to the facts related in the Inspired Text, and either account for them by natural causes, or leave them as points not decided, and the disbelief of which involves nothing irre. verent, irrational, or unchristian. Some of our correspondents have pointed out what they consider analogies between Miss Fancourt's case, and some of the miracles of healing recorded in the Sacred narrative : but do they not perceive on what a perilous path they have entered ? for if that young lady's cure is proved not to have been miraculous, how will they reply to the infidel who retorts on them their own parallel? We deny all such connexion and analogy : the cases are wholly and utterly distinct; and we tremble to contemplate the evil which some well-meaning persons are creating by their ill-judged defence of such alleged "modern miracles.** We take this opportunity of adding, to what has been said by ourselves in our No
vember and December Numbers, and by Mr. Newnham and Mr. Travers in this Appendix, that Mr. Parkinson, another medical gentleman who attended Miss Fancourt, has published a statement, that in his opinion the disorder was only a nervous affection, that there existed no organic injury whatever, and that the original complaint had been cured by rest and proper treatment. We have already acquitted Miss Fancourt's friends of wishing to dress up" a case ; and yet it does appear to us extraordinary, that the testimony of medical men who attended the patient, and which the parties must have known was decisive as to there being no miracle, no disorder in fact which required a miracle to cure, was suppressed and in place of it was given to the world the patient's own account of her case, with the anonymous testimony of some surgeon from the West End” of London, who had never seen the patient in her illness, and who is alleged to have been previously biassed by a belief in the revival of the gifts of tongues and healing, which this cure would in his opinion confirm. It is due to truth that he should tell us, as a professional man, why he accounts it miraculous. This keeping back of evidence, we must say, does not do honour to the case. Why did not Mr. Fancourt, or our respected correspondent H. S. C. H., frankly tell us, when they brought forth their array of proofs, that the medical friends who had attended the patient considered the case only a nervous
affection, and maintained that there was nothing very extraordinary in it? We think ulso, as already stated page 781, that H. S. C. H. was not correct in
telling us that Miss Fancourt had not heard much of the Scottish miracles, or been interested about them. We have already replied, that it had been stated to us " that a clergyman, who had been preaching, just before at the chapel at which Mr. Fancourt officiates, and which his daughter attends, had urged the exciting doctrine that we live in a day when gifts of this sort may be expected." We mentioned no names, and did not urge the statement, because it did not come to us from the parties themselves, and we considered there was proof enough of ... excitement" without it. But delicacy no longer requires this suppression; for the identical sermon has been published in The Preacher," purporting to be a discourse
delivered by the Rev. H. M`Neile at the Jews' Episcopal Chapel, the very Sunday before Miss Farcourt's recovery. In this sermon Mr. M`Neile boldly maintains that the miraculous gifts of healing, and speaking in unknown tongues, are a regular part of the Christian dispensation, and that nothing but our want of faith prevents our making use of them. Mr. Fancourt, who was present, opposed, as might be expected, this wild notion ; but not a few young ladies thought Mr. W'Neile ivas right, and the question became the general theme of conversation and argument in Miss Fancourt's circle ; and yet from H. S. C. H.'s account we might conclude that Miss Fancourt had never heard of the subject. We must really say, with all freedom, that the tale bas not been told with due simplicity. The simple narrative is, that a young lady, labouring under a nervous affection, had her imagination strongly impressed by an extraordinary excitement, which induced her to resume her renovated powers. And to deny ihat this is a miracle, is called “infidelity;" and one of our friends hints at “ Hume and Spinoza ;' and a pamphlet is published, by some abetter of these extravagant doctrines, charging us with the most dreadful profaneness. Mr. M'Neile had long ago given himself out for a prophet sent of God with a special denunciation against the people of England ; but we did think he had too much good sense to have espoused such fancies as the revival of the gifts of tongues and miraculous healing. It was from Mr. M Neile's sermon that our friend H. S. C. H. seems to have borrowed the case of the alleged miracle alluded to by Milner. Since writing the last paragraph we have received the following letter from Mr.
Fancourt. We had rather, for the writer's sake, not have inserted it ; but, as our motives would be misconstrued, we have no alternative but to do so. grieved, that what we wrote unseignedly with the greatest respect and delicacy towards the parties, in our November Number, should have given Mr. Fancourt so · much offence. Let the public judge between us. So far from having written harshly, we have been warmly remonstrated with for being warped, by false tenderness and respect to individuals, to the dereliction of our duty As Mr. Fancourt accuses us on the one side, it is but justice to ourselves to insert, with his letter, another from the class above-mentioned, No.3, to shew what a remonstrant says. on the other. Between these extremes we judge that we took the right course We assure Mr. Fancourt, that we did not intend himself, or any other person, the slightest offence: we hud no wish to insert the narrative : so far from it, we at first, as he must be aware, declined it, as we had done in the case of the Scotch miracles; and it was only when we learned, that, if we did not publish it, the parties concerned considered it their duty to publish it elsewhere, that we introduced the subject in our pages--the parties themselves urging that the Christian Observer was the best channel for such a discussion. Nothing was stated more strongly in print than was previously remarked in person to the common friend, H. S. C. H., who drew up the statement-namely, that the case was noturniraculous, but was one of a large eluss of cases which have been often cured by powerful excitement, such as charms, relies, exorcisms, popish wafers, tractors, electric shocks, fires, civil wars, and other stimuli, acting upon the imagination. We were not even aware that Mr. Fancourt thought the case miraculous ; for we had heard, what H. S. C. H. confirms, that he opposed Mc. G.'s notions about the gift of healing; and we can only regret that he has since allowed himself to be carried away by the delusion. He complains, in substance, that we have exposed religion to contempt, profanely treated " sacred things," and " unnaturally connected" the miracle at Hoxton with the miracles of Prince Hohenlohe ; but all this proves nothing, unless it be a miracle, which we do not see a shadow of reason to believe. We never suspected that Mr. Fancourt wished us to insert the case, as a miracle to be implicitly credited, not sationally and scripturally .com. mented on: we durst not have been parties to the propagation of such a delusion. Our object was truth, not wonderment: and deeply grieved are we at the evil that has been done by calling this a miracle; infidels scoffing, sober-minded Christians ashamed and weeping, idle crowds running to gape at the Jews' chapel, and the very postmen doubtless wondering what can be meant by the Scripture reference and inotto on Mr. Fancourt's seal, “ Arise and walk.” Our correspondent is peculiarly displeased at our adducing popish miracles as parallel; hul be has not atteinpred to shew how the cases differ; and if the pious gratitude of the patient were a criterion of truth, Mrs. Mattingly, Miss Stuart, and the Baroness D. express themselves as strongly as Miss Fancourt could do. But the piety, or character, or theological opinions of the patients, in neither case has any thing to do with the real question. We were not comparing the tenets of the Protestant and the Papist, but only their bodily maladies and cure, and we really see no irreverence or profaneness in this. As to what Mr. Fancourt says of our putting our chaste mother church, who points her children to Jesus, to look for health in his name, by the side of the harlot of Babylon," the contrary is the case : our Church knows of no miraculous gifts of healing, and in her Homily " On the Peril of Idolatry” she speaks very strongly against the " lying wonders" of the Church of Rome ; adding, what we strongly recommend to the consideration of those whom it may concern, “ Neither ought miracles to persuade us to do contrary to God's word; for the Scriptures have, for a warning thereof, foreshewed that the kingdom of Antichrist shall be mighty in miracles and wonders, to the strong illusion of all the reprobates.” But we forbear proceeding further. The following is Mr. Fancourt's letter; and we only regret that his mind should have been, quite unnecessarily, pained upon the subject. To the Editor of the Christian Observer.
“ Hoxton squarc, 23. Dee. 1830. "Obscurity is my element of respiration ; from which, to my discomfort, I am drag. ged by no kindly hand. It may be asked, why not screen yourself by a more cautious concealment ? My answer is, Shall not men praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men ?' In suffering my pubiic testimony to the goodness of the Lord to be given to the Church, I have in my spirit said, I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue ;' and if the wicked were before me, and not the godly in the land, I would • keep my mouth with a bridle.'
“But, while musing on animadversions made in pages which have for their motto • Holiness to the Lord,' my heart is hot within me to record my sorrow that the Lord has been wounded in the house of his friends.
“Sir, your avowed knowledge of the multiplied statements which have been circu. lated relative to my daughter's extraordinary restoration to health, is my sufficient justification for permitting my signature to be annexed to a public attestation to an authentic narrative. The characters for whom it was intended will, I trust, acquit me of an indiscreet hurry to give indiscriminate publicity to sacred things, to be touched only by those who eat at the same altar. To expose the gracious dealings of the God of Christians to the gaze of the scornful, receives its rebuke from the prohibitory command of their Lord and Master, • Neither cast ye your pearls before swine.' But the irrevocabile verbum was as · when one letteth out water,' and the only expedient left was to direct the stream through holy ground. And where could the Christian mind look for a channel which held out a better hope for the modest writer of the narrative to find shelter, than under so holy a guardian as the Christian Observer? But, sir, has the pledge been redeemed?
• Doris amara suam non intermisceat undam.' “ Why put the guest who eats of the heavenly feast with unleavened bread, at the same table with one who kneels at the idolatrous shrine? Why put the suffering but Tesigned disciple of Jesus, to whom faith is given from the throne of his exaltation to be healed by his present power, in juxta-position with the infidel, who deifica tris energies, and boasts that he can think himself ill and think himself well? Why put our chaste mother, who, in simplicity of doctrine points her children to Jesus, to look for health through faith in his name, by the side of the Whore of Babylon, against whose •lying wonders ' you give a wholesome caution? Why put the unassuming man of faith and prayer, by the side of the ostentatious Hohenlohe ? The Christian Observer moves in holy precincts: why take down its hedges, and give vantage ground to them that are without? By your zeal to destroy ihe vorshippers of Baal, have you not wounded the children of Zion? It has pained, sir, the spirit of many, to whom I am sure you would be sorry to give pain, to see my daughter's case so unnaturally connected with others, which you venture not to rescue from the sneer of the profane scoffer. Had I conceived ihat such had been your private opinion of the case, as meriting no happier fate, no prepossessions in favour of your miscellany would have prevailed with me to admit of its insertion. If, from the superiority of your spiritual discernment, you were enabled to detect the film of delusion over your brother's eye, would not the hand of love been more successful in the removal of it? But, in the happy conviction that our eyes are not dim, but see, the family of the restored cripple cease not to unite with her in the repetition of praise and thanksgiving, which ascribes to Jesus all the glory. Amen.
"Sincerely wishing that your periodical work may, by the Divine blessing, be instrumental to promote peace and good will among brethren, I ain, &r.
THCS. FANCOURT.” The following is the letter of one of the remonstrants on the other side. We had not
intended to insert it, but the admission of Mr. Fancourt's letter seems to oblige us in fairness to present both views of the question.
To the Editor of the Christian Observer. " Will yon permit an aged reader, one who has been a subscriber to your work from its commencement, to offer a note of warning? I am persuaded that none of your readers estimate the value of your work more highly than myself: it is therefore with real grief that I have to express my opinion, that in an article in your last Number you have treated with culpable gentleness a case of serious delusion. I refer to your article on the case of Miss Fancourt. You have clearly enough shewn that there is delusion in the case. Mr. G. had no Divine commission as a miraculous i operator'; Miss Fancourt no warrant for her faith. Is there not, then, here a new