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priesthood as the depositaries and proxies of the people's faith. Clerical patents are among the monopolies of the old state craft, which are becoming exploded ; and if religion is to become universal, it must cease to be professional. The means of becoming adequately informed on all matters of theology, critical or abstruse, lie fairly within the reach of well educated men ; nor can any branch of Biblical study be considered as more remote from a popular character, than chemistry or scientific botany. What is termed systematic theology must, to a certain extent, be studied by every one who would understand his religion. In the mind of every intelligent reader of the Scriptures,' Dr. Dick remarks, a system is formed, the parts of which, by their union, reflect a new light upon one another.' At the same time, the declamations against systematic theology' which the learned Author complains of, have been but too well justified by the usual character of dogmatic systems. . We took up a folio volume of Goodwin's Works the other day, in which no less than 456 pages are devoted to an exposition of the doctrine of Election!

How very different a notion the Apostles seem to have had of the proper mode of teaching theology! How thankful we ought to be, that St. Paul's Epistles do not extend to a score of folio volumes! Had he adopted such a mode of theologizing, he could not have said with truth, Ei nai εστι κεκαλυμμένον το ευαγγελιον ημών, εν τοις απολλυμενοις (μόνον) εστι mexanvuévov. (2 Cor. iv. 3.) Such theology is, to all intents and purposes, a cryptology,-a doctrine veiled from the uninitiated as much as the hidden mysteries of Eleusis. A body of divinity, judging of the building from the brick, would, on this scale, vie with the statutes at large. Compared with such writers, these four moderate-sized volumes of Dr. Dick’s may be considered as a mere abridgement of theology. Yet, by the side of Benedict Pictet's more compendious work, the Lectures of the Scotch Professor shew a formidable bulk. The Geneva Professor had, indeed, he tells us, no other design than to satisfy the wishes of those studious youth who, having eagerly gone through Turretine's excellent system of controversial divinity, earnestly requested that they might have given to them a system of didactic theology, in which controversies were left out, and the truth simply and plainly taught. Accordingly, innumerable questions, discussed

in larger common-places of divinity, have been left out, as being • of little importance, and rather curious than useful. We may observe that to the doctrine of Election, for instance, which occupies 456 folio pages of Goodwin's book, and which is discussed by Dr. Dick in the moderate compass of thirty octavo pages, Professor Pictet assigns only five chapters, occupying twenty pages in duodecimo. Further abridgement might be found not impracticable.

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Dr. Dick admonished his students, that they were not to expect to be entertained with things that could be properly called new. The truths were as old as the Bible, and had been topics of discussion from chairs and pulpits from the first age of our religion. The learned Professor forgot, that old truths may need to be re-discovered, and that they are new at least to the learner. He proceeds to say: Our

purpose is gained, if we are able to communicate to the rising race the knowledge which was imparted to ourselves by our predecessors; we have not the presumption to hope that we shall make

any material addition to it; and the utmost at which we could reasonably aim is, to suggest some small matter which had been overlooked, to propose a new argument, or, it may be, to throw some light upon a portion of Scripture not yet fully understood. In human sciences, discoveries may be made by superior penetration and more patient inquiry; and their advanced state in the present age, is a proof of the success of the moderns in the investigation of the secrets of nature. Discoveries might have been made also in religion, while revelation

progress, and its light was increasing, like that of the morning; but, as seventeen centuries have elapsed since it was completed, and during this long interval it has engaged the attention of the wise, the learned, and the pious, there is every probability that we have been anticipated in all our views.' Preface, p. vii. In this

passage, we recognise the genuine modesty of a learned man; yet, to one who formed no higher purpose as a teacher, than just to hand down, unimproved, the crude knowledge of his predecessors, what an insipid drudgery must have been the business of the theological chair! Is it certain, then, that no discoveries may remain to be made by us in religious knowledge? Was not Luther as truly a discoverer as Newton? Did not Zwingle add as much to religious knowledge by proving the absurdity of Transubstantiation, as Harvey to philosophical science by his great discovery? Is it true, that, for seventeen centuries, the Bible, the source of all our religious knowledge, has engaged the attention of the wise and pious? How, then, came its doctrines to be all but lost, and the sacred volume to be a rarity in the hands of the learned? How came the doctrine of the Greek article, the understanding of which is so essential to a correct interpretation of the inspired text, to be so completely lost, as to entitle Bishop Middleton to the honour of establishing its true grammatical force, and thereby performing the greatest service, perhaps, that has been rendered, by modern learning, to Scriptural theology ? Some of the most important discoveries are such as enable us simply to secern truth, which always goes into a small compass, from bulky error. This moral chemistry has never yet been brought to bear sufficiently on systematic theology. How much is the effect of truth neutralised by the

errors found in combination with it! We expect no new revelation, no addition to the matter of revelation ; but we nevertheless look for great discoveries in theology, and are warranted in doing so by past experience.

No one,' says Professor Pictet, can sufficiently deplore the lot of the Christian Church in those (the middle) ages, when such barbarous words were used for the explanation of Christian doctrines, and every thing was so wrapped up in obscure questions, that a period of nine years was not enough for the proper understanding of ihe single preface of Scolus to Lombard, and when the most futile and even impious questions were discussed, to the neglect of Scripture. This was the reason why the wisest reformers of the Church have entirely banished the scholastic theology from its territories, together with its curious, vain, and often impious questions, and devoted themselves entirely to the exposition of God's word. Nevertheless, after the example after the schoolmen, or following, rather, the method of those who teach the arts and sciences, they were willing to reduce theology to certain rules, and that with the greatest propriety; but then, the divinity which they taught was not derived from Aristotle and Plato, but from those purer sources, the sacred writings.

' p. viii. Now we cannot but think that the Reformers made a most important discovery in religion; a discovery as great as the Baconian method of induction applied to philosophy. But seldom does it fall to the lot of discoverers to perfect, or even to appreciate, that which have they have been the first to indicate. The Reformers discovered the true source of theology, but not the true method; the true Rule of Faith, but not the rule for using it. After releasing Theology from the dark prison of the scholastic jargon, they bound her with fetters borrowed from her old gaolers,-following the example of the schoolmen'in reducing their purer divinity to pedantic and arbitrary systems. We are still suffering the evil consequences of this unhappy mistake. The true principles of Biblical interpretation must be considered as only now beginning to be understood; and divines have not yet learned to view the sacred Scriptures as the true organ of theological science.

We hail, however, with peculiar satisfaction, the appearance of such a volume as the Elementary Course of Theological Lectures by Mr. Conybeare, because it will at least serve to point out the way to a better method of instruction. We must own that we are delighted with the very shape and appearance of this nodest little volume, (the size of Murray's Family Library,) for reasons already assigned. A Course of Lectures on the Criticism,

Interpretation, and Leading Doctrines of the Bible,' brought into the compass of a pocket volume, is truly a curiosity, and forns an almost amusing contrast with the Lectures of Dr. Dick, or he Theology of Dr. Dwight, to say nothing of Gill, and

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Ridgeley, and Goodwin, and the prolix and prolific divines of other days. It is true, there are treatises which profess to give in as small a compass the Marrow of Sacred Divinity ;' as the Medulla of Marckius, or the Marrow' of Dr. William Ames, of which a Translation from the Latin was published by order from the Honourable the House of Commons, in the year 1642, as ' a work useful for the season.' But these works have gone out of fashion,-if, indeed, they were ever popular. Dr. Ames, in the Brief Premonition to his work, speaks of some in his day, and those not unlearned, who dislike this whole manner

of writing, that the sum of divinity should be brought into a short compend. They desire great volumes, wherein they may ' loosely either dwell or wander. Whom (he quaintly says) I 'desire to consider, that all have not so great leisure or vast a wit, as to hunt the partrich in the mountains and woods: but

that the condition of many doth rather require that the nest ' itself, or the seat of the matter which they pursue, be shewed

without any more adoe.' Apologizing for the dryness of the stýle and the harshness of some words, the learned Divine says:

í do prefer to exercise myself in that heresie, that when it is my purpose to teach, I think I should not say that in two words which

may be said in one; and that that key is to be chosen which doth open best, although it be of wood, if there be not a 'golden key of the same efficacy.'*

Our readers will, we think, admire the good sense of these remarks; but, while the brevity of this Compend does credit to the learned Author, nothing can be more marrowless than the skull and cross-bones of divinity which are offered to the reader's repast. That divinity should ever have been palatable in such a shape, is scarcely conceivable. Two hundred years have produced a wonderful change in our national costume; but the alteration in the national mind must be still greater, judging from the language and modes of thought exhibited in this volume as compared with that of Mr. Cony beare. Scarcely wider is the interval which separates Lombard and Duns Scotus from Wickliff, Tyndal, and Fox.

We have no particular liking for abridgements, abstracts, or meagre outlines; and if Mr. Conybeare's volume was one of this description, we should dismiss it with brief notice. Notwith: standing its unpretending exterior and humble dimensions, it is in fact, a work of no ordinary merit, displaying profound learning in union with sound orthodoxy, unaffected candour and liberalių, and a truly catholic spirit. The Author, who is universaly esteemed alike for the amiable qualities of his character and his


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* Wooden keys must still have been in common use at this tinc.


extraordinary erudition, on being appointed Visitor to the College at Bristol, volunteered to supply pro tempore, and of course ' gratuitously, the office of Theological Lecturer, until that

department could be permanently filled up.' Reference is made to a former publication, (which we have not seen,) containing the Author's inaugural Address; in which he sketched the outlines of the evidence and doctrine of Natural Religion, and, after a connecting survey of Butler's argument from Analogy, the evidences of Christianity. In the present publication, we have, in the first two lectures, a brief survey of Biblical Criticism, on the basis of Bishop Marsh's Lectures: the Inspiration of the holy Scripture and determination of the genuine Text are treated in the first; and in the second, the Means and Rules of Scriptural Interpretation or Hermeneutics. To this second Lecture is appended a very learned and valuable treatise on the general Grammatical Principles of the Semitic languages. In the third Lecture, the Author proceeds to combat the objection of the unbeliever, drawn from the Mysteriousness of certain Doctrines

of the Christian Religion ;' availing himself of the general arguments of a valuable discourse on that subject by his ancestor, Bishop Conybeare. The five remaining lectures are occupied with the doctrines of the Church, on the alienation of man's

moral condition ;' the nature of the Remedy or the Atonement; the Divinity of Christ; and the Personality and Influences of the Holy Spirit. "If,' says the Author, I shall be found to have * elucidated these great doctrines in a satisfactory manner, I ap

prehend every member of our Church will agree, that I have selected those cardinal points of her system which she has ever regarded as primarily essential.' Assuredly, if Theology can be resolved into these elements, we shall have gained an important step towards both the advancement and the more general diffusion of this most precious kind of knowledge. It will be necessary, however, to scrutinize the analysis.

Before we proceed to do this, it may be as well to take a brief review of the contents of the more extended work of Dr. Dick. And here we beg to say, that nothing is further from our intention, than to depreciate the real merit and value of these theological lectures, which, to all who were acquainted with the learned and pious Author, will be peculiarly interesting, and, to religious readers in general, a treasure of profitable instruction. Indeed, few men of the present day appear to have united more requisites for the office of theological lecturer. As a theologian, we are told, he was distinguished by the strictness with which he • adhered to the great Protestant rule of making the Bible, in its

plain meaning, the source of his religious creed, and the basis • of his theological system. .: The intellectual excellence for • which he was chiefly remarkable, was that of conceiving clearly;

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