Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

« The

.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Smith seem to us to apply the true key of interpretation. "Scriptures appear to us,' he remarks, on the one hand, to teach

the existence of such a union as produces a personal oneness ; ' and, on the other, to exclude the notion of transmutation or

confusion of the essential properties of either nature with respect 'to the other. It follows that, whatever communication of supernatural qualities, powers, or enjoyments was made by the indwelling Divinity (Col. ii. 9.) to the man Christ Jesus,” it was made in various degrees, and on successive occasions, as the · Divine wisdom judged fit: and this necessary limitation would apply to “times or seasons which the Father has put in his own power," as much as to any other conceivable class of objects.'

We cannot take leave of the subject better than in the admirable remarks with which Mr. Conybeare prefaces and winds up his two lectures on this cardinal doctrine.

• I am persuaded, indeed, that one source of the difficulties which are sometimes experienced in the reception of this doctrine is, as I have said before, because in the creeds and formularies of a Church it is necessarily presented in a dry, abstract, technical, and scholastic form; whereas in the Scriptures we seldom find it thus directly and abstractedly enforced, but generally meet with it in a combined and applied form, coupled with some practical inference: thus, when our Lord himself claims an unity with the Father, it is to encourage the sheep who have entered his fold with the certainty of his almighty protection. My Father who

gave them me is greater than all, and none is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one." And when by his actions he most expressively implies his Divine authority, it is that men may know that the Son of Man hath power on earth to forgive sins. And thus, when, in the beginning of his Gospel, St. John has given us perhaps the most full and express attestations extant of Christ's pre-existence from the beginning, of his Deity, and of his participation with the Father in the creation of the universe, his great scope seems to be, as may be inferred from the manner in which he sums up that remarkable passage, to point out the ingratitude and danger of those who should reject him, and the spiritual privileges of those who should receive him. - He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not: he came unto his own, and his own received him not; but as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” And thus again, when St. Paul alludes to Christ's pre-existence in the form of God, and asserts that when he took upon him the servile form of man, he emptied himself, (that is, of his proper dignity,) his object is to enforce the following (of) his example of meekness and love. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” From this structure of the Bible, which ever thus aims at presenting its great doctrines, not in any abstract scholastic method, but under this practical combination and application, it may, indeed, at first seem that these doctrines may be rendered less obvious, (being, as it were, latent in the application,) than if they were thrown together on the very sur

[ocr errors]

the

face, as in a technical creed; yet surely, in our researches in such a volume, it is a bounden duty to make our researches penetrate beyond that surface; to investigate deeply, to collect, combine, and compare : and no one who has thus studied can, I think, be insensible to the very superior beneficial influence exercised by the Scriptural doctrines from this their combined form ; from their always thus associating the materials of faith with the working of that faith by love, above what could have been possessed by any more formal enunciation. As St. Paul, after enumerating the most distinguished spiritual gifts, concludes, “Behold, I shew you a more excellent way” (referring to the grace of Christian love); so may it be well said, that this

grace, as being the end and consummation of knowledge and faith, must be

more excellent way,” towards which they should always be so enforced as most effectually to tend.' pp.

200_202. • It is under this practical application, and not with any metaphysical definitions, that this great doctrine is ever revealed to us in Scripture; and I shall little scruple to add, that had all our public formularies of faith contented themselves with such an exhibition, I am fully persuaded that many who are now repelled, and have recoiled into what I must consider dangerous error, might still have been retained by us in the unity of Scriptural faith. While I sincerely profess that I most conscientiously myself adhere to these formularies, as to the most correct exposition,--since these metaphysical discussions have, as I have formerly shown, been forced upon the Church by the wild speculations of the ancient heretics opposed to her,-yet I shall candidly acknowledge my earnest desire, that, in the present day, some of them were rather retained for the private subscription of those whose professional education has trained them to a knowledge of the circumstances under which they were composed, and a proper appreciation of their language, instead of being employed as the common symbols of our public congregations, a large majority of whom must necessarily remain destitute of the information absolutely requisite for their proper apprehension.' p. 269.

The concluding Lecture treats of the Personality of the Holy Spirit, the Trinitarian testimonies of the Apostolical Fathers, and the Influences of the Holy Spirit. The necessity of regeneration having been insisted upon in the lecture on the corruption of human nature, Mr. Conybeare very briefly touches upon the subject in this lecture. The ordinary operations' of the Spirit, he remarks,

are principally the following: He convinces us of sin,-he sanc"tifies our wills,-he enlarges our hearts,-he enlightens our un“derstandings,—he comforts us in all trials and adversities, he

helps our infirmities in prayer. These words clearly recognise the great doctrines of Regeneration and Sanctification, which are in truth one. We could have wished, however, that Mr. Conybeare had somewhat more fully and explicitly treated of what the New Testament terms, the 'quickening’or vivifying operation of the Divine Spirit, by means of the truth which is the instrument of regeneration, and of that moral transformation which is the re

[ocr errors]

sult of the Christian doctrine under the scriptural notion of a principle of spiritual life ;-the νόμος του πνευματος της ζωής εν Χριστώ Ιησου, which can alone emancipate from the bondage of sin and death*.

It only remains to consider how far the Author's scheme of theology embraces all the cardinal doctrines of the Christian faith. He professes, indeed, to treat only of the “ leading doctrines of the Bible'; but an elementary course of lectures like the present, ought unquestionably to exhibit an outline of the whole system of saving truth. Shall we test the completeness of the scheme by the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, to which the Church established requires the subscription of all who are admitted to her colleges or pulpits ? It must be admitted that, according to this rule, these lectures are greatly defective. On the points insisted upon in Articles iii., iv., xiii., xvi., xvii., and from xix. to the end, twenty-six out of thirty-nine,—they are silent. The metaphysical problem of free-will, the scholastic dispute respecting works of supererogation, sin after baptism, and grace of congruity, the five points of the Calvinistic controversy, nay, the subject of the Divine decrees, and Election itself, are pretermitted by the Lecturer, equally with the ecclesiastical articles relating to the authority of the Church, the sacraments, the homilies, and the consecration of bishops. Nor has he discussed the nature of faith and repentance, and assurance, nor adverted to the second Gospel of the millennium. What excuse can be offered ? To allege that these are not leading doctrines of Theology, would be to pour contempt upon the labours of divines, who have for the most part bestowed their chief attention upon these favourite topics of disquisition and polemic debate. And if they are not essential articles of the Christian faith, what apology can be offered for making subscription to them the condition of professional education and literary honours, as well as the terms of communion? If, on the other hand, scriptural Theology can be resolved into these few and simple elementary doctrines,—the fall of man, the Divine method of salvation through an Atonement and a Mediator, the Divinity of Our Lord, the personality of the Holy Spirit, and the spiritual life, commencing with regeneration and perfected in glory; if all the other doctrines of systematic divinity are either included in these, or excluded by them; if, for instance, predestination to life' (the only predestination insisted upon in the Scripture) is, as Mr. Douglas contends, ' a

simple consequence of election', and election is strictly identical with grace or favour ’, and the explanation of the doctrine is, that the only reasons for the infinite loving-kindness and

[ocr errors]

6

* Rom. viii. 2.

mercy of God are to be found in his eternal, all-perfect, and therefore unchangeable nature ;-if such be a right conclusion, we have only to express the fervent hope, that the simple and unincumbered method of teaching the leading doctrines of the Bible exemplified by Mr. Conybeare and by Mr. Douglas, may be speedily adopted in all our seminaries of religion and learning, and that this most precious kind of knowledge, so purified and condensed, may become as universally diffused as the light of reason, or the arts of civilized life.

Art. II.-1. Church and Home Melodies, being a New Version of the

more Devotional Parts of the Psalms; together with a Version of the Collects, and Original Hymns, for Congregational and Domestic Purposes. By the Rev. Thomas James Judkin,, M.A. Minister of Somers' Chapel, St. Pancras. 24mo. pp. 659. London,

1834. 2. Fifty Original Hymns. By James Edmeston, Author of Sacred

Lyrics, &c. 12mo. Pp. 45. Northampton, 1833. WE were not aware, when, in our October Number, we noticed

the first edition of Mr. Judkin's volume of Psalms and Hymns, that it had been out of print, and that this second edition, which is to a considerable extent a new work, had already issued from the press. Whose fault it was, the Author's or our own, that his volume only fell under our observation by mere accident, we leave our readers to decide. In the present edition, in place of a collection of Psalms from the authorized versions with alterations unauthorized, Mr. J. has presented to the public

new Version of the more devotional parts of the Psalms'. He has also given a version of the Collects, and above a hundred additional original hymns. We have therefore deemed the Author entitled to claim a second notice of his contributions to English Psalmody. By the way, we like his first title best ; for, though he may think the term Psalmody not precisely applicable to the threefold object he has had in view, in reference to church, family, and closet devotion, Melodies' is a term still less appropriate.

We shall first give a specimen or two of the Author's new Version of the Psalms. To have succeeded even in a few instances, where so many have failed, in the difficult attempt at once to preserve the spirit of the original, and to accommodate it to Christian worship, is, perhaps, as much as any hymn-writer can hope for. The task is one, too, which requires a much closer study of the Psalms, and a more patient elaboration, than we can give Mr. Judkin credit for having bestowed upon these compositions. His very facility of versification has been, in some respects, a hinderance

a

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

to his success.

The xxiiid Psalm, which every poet tries, and seldom with a tolerable result, is very pleasingly rendered.

• Thy shepherd-hand to lead,

No want, O Lord, I know;
But freely feed through verdant mead,

Where living waters flow.
My soul restor'd by Thee

From error and distress,
Thou guidest me most tenderly

In paths of righteousness.
• Though death's dark vale be trod,

No evil will I fear;
Whilst Thou, my God, with staff and rod,

To comfort me art near.
• My life still flowing o'er

With mercies rich and rare,
Thee evermore will I adore,

Within Thy house of pray’r.'

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

og be

[ocr errors]

As another favourable specimen, we give the following version of the xlviith Psalm.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

• Let ev'ry congregation

A shout of triumph raise,
With hymns of adoration

Extend Messiah's praise.
• He, as a monarch glorious,

Takes now His heav'nly seat ;
He reigns in strength victorious ;

The world is at His feet.
By angel hosts attended

'With trumpets in the air,
The Saviour-God ascended,

Our mansions to prepare.
Let ev'ry gentile nation,

And Israel's chosen race,
Now sing with exultation,

O Christ, Thy boundless grace.'

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

If the version of Psal. xcii. did but fulfil the promise of the first stanza, it would have been a very happy specimen. Had Mr. Judkin satisfied himself less easily, he would have given more satisfaction to his readers. We feel no disposition to criticise his performances with severity; and yet, we cannot but think his talents, with due pains, would have enabled him to do better. It

VOL. XII.N.S.

3Q

« AnteriorContinuar »