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describe the future rejection of the Messiah as coeval with his appearance; and that the most singular fact in sacred history is neither the subject of narration nor of prophecy, but was reserved for the detection of the nineteenth century.
Having replied to this anonymous writer on every particular connected with the baptism of John, it is unnecessary to trouble the reader by animadverting on the other parts of his performance: the few observations it contains which are pertinent to the subject are too loose and superficial to deserve attention, especially since a work is announced by a writer who will probably discuss the remaining topics with superior ability. We shall notice only two circumstances, illustrative of the author's management of the controversy. He devotes his first section to a synopsis of the principles advanced in the treatise On Terms of Communion; which he has extended to the number of fourSeveral of these, disguised by a little variety of language, are identically the same; some grossly misrepresented; and all of them expressed, not in the terms of the author, but in such as are adapted to give them as much of the air of paradox as possible. It is obvious that he who wishes to judge of them fairly must view them in their proper place, accompanied with their respective proofs and illustrations; and that to tear them from their connexion, and exhibit them in a naked form, though they had been expressed in the author's own terms, is a direct appeal to prejudice. The obvious design is to deter the reader at the outset, and to dispose him to prejudge the cause before it is heard. To mingle in the course of a controversy insinuations and innuendoes which have no other tendency than to impair the impartiality of the reader is too common an artifice; but such an open, barefaced appeal to popular prejudice is of rare occurrence. It is an expedient to which no man will condescend who is conscious of possessing superior resources. To this part of his performance no reply will be expected; for though the author feels himself fully equal to the task of answering his opponent, he confesses himself quite at a loss to answer himself. Like a certain animal in the eastern part of the world, who is reported to be extremely fond of climbing a tree for that purpose, he merely pelts the author with his own produce.
Another charge, however, is adduced of more serious import. For presuming to speak of conditions of salvation, he is accused of employing anti-evangelical language, and suspicions of his orthodoxy are pretty broadly insinuated. When the term conditions of salvation, or words of similar import, are employed, he wishes it once for all to be clearly understood that he utterly disclaims the notion of meritorious conditions, and that he intends by that term only what is necessary in the established order of means, a sine qua non, that without which another thing cannot take place. When thus defined, to deny there are conditions of salvation, is not to approach to antinomianism merely, it is to fall into the gulf. It is nothing less than a repeal of all the sanctions of revelation, of all the principles of moral government. Let the idea of conditional salvation, in the sense already explained, be steadily rejected along with the term, and the patrons of the worst of
CHRISTIAN BAPTISM AND THAT OF JOHN.
heresies will have nothing further to demand. That repentance, faith, and their fruits in a holy life, supposing life to be continued, are essential prerequisites to eternal happiness, is a doctrine inscribed as with a sunbeam in every page of revelation; and must we, in deference to the propagators of an epidemic pestilence, be doomed to express by obscure and feeble circumlocutions a truth which one word will convey, especially when that word, or others of a precisely similar meaning, has been current in the productions of unquestionable orthodoxy and piety in every age? The author is at a loss to conceive on what principle, or for what reason, dangerous concessions are due to antinomianism; that thick-skinned monster of the ooze and the mire, which no weapon can pierce, no discipline can tame. If it be replied, Why adhere to an offensive term, when its meaning may be expressed in other words, or at least by a more circuitous mode of expression? the obvious answer is, that words and ideas are closely associated; and that, though ideas give birth to terms, appropriate terms become in their turn the surest safeguard of ideas, insomuch that a truth which is never announced but in a circuitous and circumlocutory form will either have no hold, or a very feeble one, on the public mind. The anxiety with which the precise, the appropriate term is avoided bespeaks a shrinking, a timidity, a distrust, with relation to the idea conveyed by it, which will be interpreted as equivalent to its disavowal. While antinomianism is making such rapid strides through the land, and has already convulsed and disorganized so many of our churches, it is not the season for halfmeasures; danger is to be repelled by intrepid resistance, by stern defiance, not by compliances and concessions: it is to be opposed, if opposed successfully, by a return to the wholesome dialect of purer times. Such is the intimate alliance between words and things that the solicitude with which the term condition and others of similar import have been avoided by some excellent men, has contributed more than a little to the growth of this wide-spreading pestilence. As almost every age of the church is marked by its appropriate visitation of error, so, little penetration is requisite to perceive that antinomianism is the epidemic malady of the present, and that it is an evil of gigantic size and deadly malignity. It is qualified for mischief by the very properties which might seem to render it merely an object of contempt its vulgarity of conception, its paucity of ideas, its determined hostility to taste, science, and letters. It includes, within a compass which every head can contain and every tongue can utter, a system which cancels every moral tie, consigns the whole human race to the extremes of presumption or despair, erects religion on the ruins of morality, and imparts to the dregs of stupidity all the powers of the most active poison. The author will ever feel himself honoured by whatever censures he may incur through his determined opposition to such a system.
THE REV. JOSEPH KINGHORN:
A FURTHER VINDICATION OF THE PRACTICE
"Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, what was that I should withstand God?"-Acts xi. 17.
[PUBLISHED IN 1818.]
AFTER announcing an intention of replying to Mr. Kinghorn, the public seem entitled to some account of the causes which have delayed its execution so long. Various conjectures have probably arisen on the subject. By many, no doubt, it has been suspected that the delay was occasioned by a perception of the difficulty of constructing an answer which would be deemed satisfactory, and that the engagement to reply was made without anticipating so formidable an opposition. That the author was, to a certain extent, deterred by a feeling of difficulty, it is impossible to deny; but the reader is probably not aware in what the difficulty lay. It had no relation to the argumentative force of Mr. Kinghorn's production, in whatever degree it may be supposed to possess that attribute, but solely to the manner in which he has chosen to conduct the debate. The perpetual recurrence of the same matter, the paucity of distinct and intelligible topics of argument, together with an obvious want of coherence, and of dependence of one part on another, give to the whole the air of a series of skirmishing and desultory attacks, rather than of regular combat; rendering it difficult to impart that order and continuity to a reply, in the absence of which argumentative discussions are insufferably tedious. With the eagerness of a professed pleader, he has availed himself of every topic which could afford the slightest colour of support to his cause, with little scrupulosity, apparently, respecting the soundness of the principles from which he argues. In a word, he has conducted his share of the warfare in a manner which renders him more formidable from the irregularity and quickness of his movements, than from the steady pressure of his columns.
Though he has advanced some new and, as they appear to me, paradoxical positions, the space which they occupy is so small, compared to that which he has allotted to arguments and objections distinctly noticed and replied to in my former treatise, that it seemed almost impracticable to answer the greater part of the work without a frequent recurrence to what had been already advanced. But a writer is never more certain of disgusting than when he is the echo of himself.
On these accounts, had my private conviction dictated the course which it seemed proper to pursue, the following work, instead of swelling to its present bulk, would have been limited to some short strictures on those parts of his reply in which my respectable opponent has quitted the track of his predecessors. But to this there were serious