Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

REMARKS ON S. THOMPSON’S LETTERS.

DEAR SIR,
THE following quotation is taken from a book written in

defence of the doctrine of the Restoration: the titlepage being loft, I cannot tell who was the author; but as I am in hopes the sentiments will better agree with yours, and likewise the generality of your correspondents than the senti. ments exhibited in S. Thompson's Letters, I could wish them, together with the annexed remarks, to have a place in your Miscellany.--

“ We reply, And how are we to know any thing at all of God, otherwise than by his Christ? The Logos, or Christ, alone is the God intelligible to the creatures---the object of their worship: Christ alone has been ever seen by thein, admired, and adored by them: to Christ alone have any of the creatures at any time had any personal access, and of him alone any sensible evidences. And how then should they know any thing of any one as God besides him by name? Nay, but what just conception can the bare name God give any of us of the invitible Deity? And if you say, that in the true name of God is implied, that he is the creator of all things, this is only to say, that by this name we define the Logos; for the Logos is the only seen Creator of all things. And if again you say, that in the true name of God is imported that telfexistent Being, who lives the one support of ali created beings, yet, since the word self-existent can import no more than the existing without the workmanship of any other cause, this appellation will still but coincide with that of uncreated; and because the uncreated can be but one, this defignation muit again terminate in that of the Creator of all things; that is, it must prove the true periphrasis of the Logos, or Christ. And if, lastly, you say, that by the name God you intend the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, you give us, it is true, the best ac. count of him; and yet such as amounts to no more than that the great Creator of all things, the (775) Lord, Support, or Pillar of us all, has a Father; or, in other words, it supposes Jesus Christ as our first known God, and as the means of our knowledge of the Father, and that the one designation whereby the Father is knowable to us is, that he is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In short, by the moft determined definia tion of God, viz. the Father, we know nothing at all of him O 2

but

(whenow, by thisd by others vinity, munt, e pallage

but through his son ; however, Jesus Christ has assured us that himself and his father are one in all other respects than those relative to them as Father and son.”

One cannot help observing how natural and easy, as well as experimental, the above sentiment is, when compared with the strange fanciful notions maintained by S. T. I have often heard of the unitarian doctrine, but I never read so much of it before. I could not have thought, that men who make so much ado about reason should be so void of reason as to deprive themselves of helps which the kind Father of mercics has been pleased to provide, in order that they might be able to worship and love him. Can this be the wisdom that cometh from above? It is very possible S. T. may understand fonie things very well; but as an expounder of Scripture, I think he has no room at all to tread and triumph. The passages of Scripture which speak of Christ's divinity, must, according to his opinion, be explained by others that speak of him merely as a man : now, by this method, he has made out a medley which (when taken together with some of his expressions, such as Deity in the womb, Deity on the breast) makes it bor der on ridicule, and only calculated to make sport for deifts.

Vol. II. p. 76. we have his comment on our Lord's con. versation with Nicodemus; and surely it is enough to make any one smile: he says, it is not the manner of the spirit's operation that is there compared to the blowing of the wind, but the person who is regenerate. If this is the truth, surely S. T. stands foremost amongst the champions for mystery; for if men and women are to become like the blowing of the wind, in such a manner as that we cannot tell whence they come nor whither they go, I think it must certainly be mysterious. As to the two texts of Scripture quoted, I suppose most people will allow that they are mysterious; and who would go to explain one mystery by another. We are told next, that as to the manner of the operation of the spirit, it is no mystery, but clearly revealed. I answer, the manner is not clearly revealed in that passage, nor yet so much as mentioned. Our Lord says, He, that is the spirit, shall convince the world of fin---but does not say in what manner. Every body knows that there is a wide difference between causes and their effects, and also between the effects themselves, and the manner in which they are produced ; fimiles to prove this can be met with every day and every hour. Again, the manner of the resurrection is quite clear and plain to S. T.; he thinks any man a fool who does not understand it; for, says he, St. Paul

explains

ca fool who do not we cannor terhaps think find

explains that himself. I say, St. Paul does not explain it at all. He says, the body is raised in incorruption---in glory---in power, and a spiritual body; all which expressions point at the ftate of the body after it is raised, rather than the manner in which it is raised. St. Paul might perhaps think such a needless question foolish ; but we cannot suppose that he considered every one a fool who did not know what perhaps he himself was ignorant of. Men as wise as S. T., and much more ata tentive, differ in their opinion about the manner of the resurrection. Some think that the atoms of the present body will be collected together by a miraculous power, and be united, lo as to form the body that shall be raised. Others think, that the essence of the present body will be folded up in so small a com. pass as to be indivisible, and that at the resurrection it will expand, and become the spiritual body that St. Paul speaks of. Others differ from these, thinking it will be only a spiritual re. surrection; and there may be o:her opinions different from these still, and yet, after all, no man can be certain in any of them. · I would just further remark, that no one need be afraid to look $. T.'s arguments in the face; for I thirik he has taken up a subject which he knows not how to argue upon; every thing which he hath said may be set aside in fix or seven words, which he himself hath helped us to, viz. We understand it in a different way. If the subject was of no more consequence than merely yea and nay, we might let the blind lead the blind; but when we consider that all experimental religion is so connected with the divinity of Jesus Christ, that the one must stand or fall with the other, the point becomes of importance, and ought to be carefully defended. To say, that it cannot be defended according to reason as well as Scripture, is not true. There has been more given up to these pretenders 10 reason than there is need for. I can see nothing neceflary to be believed concerning it, that is above reason, nor yet contrary to reason, provided we reason agreeable to the nature of the subject. I grant there has been many absurd expressions and notions maintained in defending the doctrine; but surely the doctrine itself cannot be less interesting on that account. Some will say, Away with your carnal reasoning ; give me the Scripture; the Scripture is the religion for proteflants. I believe neither protestants nor papists can be benefitted by the Scriptures without the use of their reason: and yet some things in the Scriptures cannot be reasoned upon in the same manner as the building of houses or the ploughing of fields: things invisible

are

. are not, nor can they be, apprehended in the same manner as things feen. I wish S. T. had studied this point more.

If you should think proper to give this a place in your Milcellany, it is probable I may address you again, at some future period, on the impossibility of worshipping God in any other way than in, throug), and by Jesus Christ. I remain,

Yours, &c.'

J. S.

LEX TALIONIS. To the Editor of the Universalist's MiscellaNT. MR. EDITOR, TT appears to me, that the person who begins a controversy,

1 ought to have no other end in view (elpecially if it is of a public nature) but that of elucidating the subject he attempts to contend about, in such a manner as either to correct what he conceives errors in his antagonist, or to communicate to the public what he thinks to be necessary as well as useful in. formation. Under the influence of expectations of this kind I began with pleasure to read your correspondent W. Burton's animadversions on a few friendly hints given in p. 60, for Fe. bruary last, in your last Miscellany, p. 91. Hoping that, however my ignorance might be exposed, such light would be thrown upon the subject as might equally tend both to the advancement of truth and the improvement of your readers in useful knowledge. But how great was my disappointment when I found that the whole corifted of charges, without one of them being properly itated, the principal of which I find to be misrepresentation! owing to my ignorance in giving a quotation of Montanus's version of Pralın xlix. 19. as the version of Pagninus, which he very wisely accounts for by my seeing the name of the latter in the title-page of the former. On which he very shrewdly makes the following remarks, “ Thus we see, Sir, that it is not only necessary to read the author we quote from, but also that we know how to read him.” Now, Sir, as your correspondent would by no means leave us to doubt of his own great learning and abilities, how uncandid is he not to inform us (if he is capable) why Pagninus's name shçuld be in the title-page of Montanus's Hebrew Bible. In p. 60. my quotation of Pagninus's version of mij zo in Psalm xlix. 19. was usque in æternum, instead of which your cor

respondent's

respondent's quotation is qui usque in feculum; by which rendering he charges Pagninus with a motive "only to decieve." And to vindicate his rendering against my correction, he introduces the following unintelligible obfervation, “ I again affirin the version of Paguinus to be as I have quoted it. The edition I use is Leusden’s, printed by Bowyer, London, 1758." Now, Sir, I in my turn affirm, that his quotation is not to be found in the text of any of Pagninus's Hebrew Psalters; and I also affirm that Leusden never did publish an edition of that author, his extracts being only from an incorrect copy, the errors of which are now placed in the margin of the present editions. Besides, the difference between Pagninus's edition of the Hebrew Psalter and Leusden's is so very conspicuous, that it is impossible they can be mistaken the one for the other by any one who knows any thing of the subject, the former being printed having the text and the words corresponding therewith in the Latin version placed over it, by which means the Latin scholar is enabled to read and construe the Hebrew language with great facility in a very short time: the latter with the text-in one page, and the version in the following one opposite. Therefore, however unable I may be to read authors I quote, when I look into the title-page of Pagninus's Hebrew Bible, with his interlineary version, I read in such a manner as to understand he was the original author of that version, and the same title-page also informs me, that Arias Montanus was the re. visor, corrector, and editor of all the subsequent editions thereof. For these reasons I conclude, that it is sometimes called Pagninus's and at other times Montanus's Hebrew Bible.

Lastly, your correspondent's very severe cenfurc, occasioned by my friendly correction of his error in his Hebrew of Psalm x. 16. I think is rather unjustifiable, as I only faid, I would recommend for the future a more careful correction of the proof sheets. Surely such a gentle bint could not justly provoke him to drag the great Alexander Pope, Esq. forward to compare me to a crow, who is content to feed on carrion ! ---What state would the Hebrew copies of the Bible have been in at the present time, if they had been exposed to the fame negligence? If we hear hin in whom are hid ail the treasures of wisdom and knowledge declaring, that “ till heaven and earth pass, not one jot or one tittle should pa's from the Scriptures till all were fulfilled,” how can we think of the passing, away of a pronoun in the plural number and masculine gender as a matter of no consequence. Had I taken notice of his English in the same manner, there might be some appearance

of

« AnteriorContinuar »