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Lamb of God, of whom it is authoritatively predicated, that he was " without blemish and without spot.” But our author shall state his own ideas in his own words:
He that shrinketh from receiving the truth, that the Most Holy One abode in a tabernacle of flesh, or humanity, such as is this of mine; and, instead thereof, shuffleth away into the vain fancy and fiction that he took upon him such a nature as Adam possessed before he fell; doth not only oppose the declarations of Scripture, that he took upon him the seed of Abraham, and was made of the seed of David according to the flesh, but doth cast out of our sympathies, and disperse far and wide unto the region of indistinctness, that life of the Lord Jesus Christ, which in every act, word, and suffering of it, was ordained unto our ensample and imitation. And if they will believe that our Lord took up the creature into a state unfallen, and therein inhabited, without descending in any way whatever into the fallen flesh; what, after this, is the meaning of the word Redemption? Incarnation and redemption become separated by all the width which is between unfallen and fallen ; for if as incarnate you say he apprehended the unfallen, how then as Redeemer doth he apprehend the fallen ?.... To one, who desireth to apprehend the mystery of redemption as it is in all Scriptures, and not in one or two solitary texts, set forth, it will afford no satisfaction to be told that the Son of God, when he came to redeem the fallen substance of creation, did not work in and upon that substance, but wrought in and by and upon a substance which had never fallen. How leap you this chasm? How make you the doings here to touch the doings there? By imputation, say they. If by imputation from us to him, they mean that it passed over to him without his becoming truly such as we are in flesh and blood, I will not be prevented by my reverence of that word from declaring, that I abhor such an abuse of it. But if by imputation is meant, that He, who was holy, did come into our unholy quarters, and, therein abiding for a time, receive the utmost rigours of the law and curse of God, not for any sin of his own, but because he of free will came and partook with the brethren their burden of flesh and blood; and in bearing it, and in redeeming it, and in bringing it out so as to manifest the glory of God, he did take away the sin, disgrace, darkness, and alienation which was upon us, and restore us to the favour and love of God, and bring in the reign of grace, and the rejoicing of hope ; which work, done in him and by him, is imputed unto us who believe therein for righteousness; then I declare that such justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ is all which I have to believe upon for the present, though I hope hereafter to be endued with an inherent righteousness, but still derived from Christ.-Pp. 505-507.
Our author pursues his statement in the same rambling, inconsistent, mystic style, for many pages, which, in mercy to our readers, we forbear to quote. But, in the name of common sense, we ask, what does this babler mean? “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge ?” What is all this miserable jargon but an impotent attempt to unite the unintelligible enigmas of modern Calvinism with the unfathomable perplexities of modern metaphysics ? If Jesus Christ took our fallen, i.e. our sinful nature upon him, he was himself a sinner; and instead of making an atonement for the offences of the world, would himself have needed the intercessional mediation of some righteous advocate! Upon the insane hypothesis of Mr. Irving, how can it be said, as he has said (p. 507), that Christ “received the utmost rigours of the curse of God, not for any sin of
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the Creed, (fol. and contaminations, it! “Wh
his own ?" “ Gird up now thy loins like a man : for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me :” (Job xxxvii. 3.) Tell me, what was the design of the Paschal Lamb's being “ without blemish ?” Was it not that it might be a type of our Redeemer, “the lamb without blemish and without spot?” (1 Pet. i. 19.) Tell me, what does St. Paul inculcate, when he says, that our great High Priest " was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin ?” (Heb. iv. 15.) Tell me, what does St. John teach, when he says of Christ—" In him was no sin ?” (1 John iii. 5.) Tell me, what was it that, in a peculiar manner, qualified our blessed Redeemer for his office, but his purity? “ For such an high priest became us who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens: for the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore !” (Heb. vii. 26.) Tell me how you reconcile Luke i. 35; John xiv. 30 ; Acts iii. 14 ; 2 Cor. v. 21, with your offensive hypothesis ! The conception of our Redeemer, by the power of the Holy Ghost overshadowing the virgin mother, utterly destroys it! “Whereas we draw something of corruption and contamination,” says the immortal expositor of the Creed, (fol. edit. p. 179,) " by our seminal traduction from the first Adam, our Saviour hath received the same nature without any culpable inclination, because born of a virgin, without any seminal traduction. Our High Priest is separate from sinners, not only in the actions of his life, but in the production of his nature. We, being in the loins of Adam, may be all said to sin in him ; yet Christ, who descended from the same Adam according to the flesh, was not partaker of that sin, but an expiation for it."
“ Incarnation and redemption become separated by all the width which is between fallen and unfallen"!!!! (Disc. p. 505.) What, then, must he who assumes the office of liberator be first a captive ? Must he, who would heal our sicknesses, be himself diseased ? Why, Sir, your irreverent hypothesis withers our best hopes, and blights our fairest expectations! " Whatsoever our original corruption is,” (again we fortify ourselves with the authority of him, “ the very dust of whose writings is gold,” fol. edit. p. 167,) “ howsoever displeasing unto God, we may be assured there was none in him, in whom alone God declared himself well pleased. This original and total sanctification of the human nature was first necessary to fit it for the personal union with the Word, who, out of his infinite love, humbled himself to become flesh; and at the same time, out of his infinite purity, could not defile himself by becoming sinful flesh.”
“If as Incarnate you say he apprehended the unfallen, how then as Redeemer doth he apprehend the fallen ?” (Disc. p. 505.) How ! Receive your answer once more from the learned expositor whom we
have already quoted : “ The Father made him to be sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him ;" which we could not have been made in him, but that he did no sin, and knew no sin : for whosoever is sinful wanteth a Redeemer ; and He could have redeemed none who stood in need of his own redemption.” (fol. edit. p. 167.)
" Are you answered yet," Sir ? or is Pearson a mere “ neophite,” “ destitute of all theological knowledge and discernment ?" (p. 509.) Let us introduce to your notice the testimony of Usher, who was a Calvinist, and who thus expresses himself relative to the birth of our Saviour_“ Why was he born of a virgin ? That he might be holy and without sin, the natural course of original corruption being precented, because he came not by natural propagation.” “ As we must be saved, so likewise must we be sanctified by one of our own nature ; that as in the first Adam there was a spring of human nature corrupted, derived unto us by natural generation; so in the second Adam there might be a fountain of the same nature restored, which might be derived unto us by spiritual regeneration.”–Usher's Body of Divinity, edit. 1668, pp. 163, 164.
“ Are you answered yet," Sir; or is the Bishop of Armagh a vendor of “ beggarly theology ?” (p. 506.) Let us invite you, then, (and this shall be our last appeal on this head,) to the perusal of the masculine Sermons of Bishop Horsley, than whom an abler divine never graced the Bench. Speaking of the incarnation of Jesus, he writes thus : “ In the virgin's womb he clothes himself with flesh; and, together with that mortal clothing, he assumes man's perfect nature,a nature subject to our wants and to our pains, not insensible to our enjoyments ; susceptible, as appeared in many actions of his life, of our social attachments; and, though pure from the stain of sin, not exempt from the feeling of temptation.” (Serm. XIX. p. 241.) “We need not go so high," the Bishop writes, (Serm. XXXIV. p. 425, edit. Lond. 1826,) " as to the divine nature of our Lord to evince the necessity of his miraculous conception. It was necessary to the scheme of redemption, by the Redeemer's offering of himself as an expiatory sacrifice, that the manner of his conception should be such that he should in no degree partake of the natural pollution of the fallen race, whose guilt he came to atone, nor be included in the general condemnation of Adam's progeny. In what the stain of original sin may consist, and in what manner it may be propagated, it is not to my present purpose to inquire : it is sufficient that Adam's crime, by the appointment of providence, involved his whole posterity in punishment. “In Adam,' says the Apostle, "all die:' and for many lives thus forfeited, a single life, itself a forfeit, had been no ransom. Nor by the divine sentence only, inflicting death on the
Adam is for his brethrenogeny were
progeny for the offence of the progenitor, but by the proper guilt of his own sins, every one sprung by natural descent from the loins of Adam is a debtor to divine justice, and incapable of becoming a Mediator for his brethren. ..... In brief, the condemnation and the iniquity of Adam's progeny were universal : to reverse the universal sentence, and to purge the universal corruption, a Redeemer was to be found pure of every stain of inbred and contracted guilt : and since every person produced in the natural way could not but be of the contaminated race, the purity requisite to the efficacy of the Redeemer's atonement made it necessary that the manner of his conception should be supernatural."
Mr. Irving calls this, in elegant phrase, “ stock-exchange divinity, which finds all higher or deeper thoughts to be but matters of moonshine." (p. 506.) But one word more on this topic, and we have done. “ Original sin is the fault and corruption of the nature of every man that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, . ... and therefore, in every person born into this world, it deserveth God's wrath and damnation." (Art. X.) Does Mr. Irving contend that Immanuel was thus “far gone"? Why, then, (absit irreverentia verbis) He, in whom God was “ well-pleased,” (horresco referens) “ deserved God's wrath and damnation !" If it be allowed, on the other hand, that the stain of original sin did not attach to the blessed Son of the Most High, does it not necessarily follow, that our Saviour took upon him our unfallen nature, according to the orthodox doctrine of the 15th Article of Religion, where it is said, that “ Christ, in the truth of our nature, was made like unto us in all things, sin only except; from which he was clearly void, both in his flesh, and in his
Granting that the last days, in which the perilous times are to come, are " the last days of the Christian dispensation,” (Introduct. Disc. p. 11,) we demur to Mr. Irving's mode of proving the point; and we would remind him that the phrase of the “latter days,” or “last days," in the Old Testament, (i.e. in the Septuagint translation, for in the original Hebrew the two apparently different phrases of latter days and last days never once occur, the single expression being there the end of days,) may signify any time yet to come, or more particularly the times of Christianity. The phrase, we think with Bishop Newton, (Dissert. edit. London, 1813, p.46,)“ is used in prophecies that respect different times and periods, as it comprehends all future time in general.” We have neither space nor inclination to discuss the merits of Mr. Irving's interpretation of Jacob's memorable prophecy, (Gen. xlix.), though we cannot omit the opportunity of entering our protest against his strange notions on the subject, which has been so
wisely handled by the sober-minded author of the Dissertations, to which we have just referred.
Having proved, as he imagines, that the times, in which we live, are the perilous times of the last days, Mr. Irving comes, in his second sermon, to their more particular description, and he endeavours to show that their several characteristics are to be found in the present community of believing Gentiles :
In which body I conclude (he writes, p. 40,) the apostate Papacy, the antichristian Protestantism, which denies the divinity of Christ, and the Church, which standeth on the true foundation; and of this last I allow no arbitrary divisions into the religious world, and the professing world, but include the whole community of the baptized; in one word, the whole of Christendom:.... and here is the description of their state before us in the text. And I now assert that this very state hath been realized, or is fast realizing.-(Pp. 39, 40.)
Such is the substance of Mr. Irving's indictment;, thus wide is the venire, and thus extensive the “ locus in quo.” But on this arraignment we plead “not guilty,” in behalf of the parties impeached ; and, as an honest jury impanelled to try the cause, we feel ourselves bound to return a verdict of “not proven.” The doctrine of constructive treason is infinite mercy, when compared with the sweeping accusations of Mr. Irving; and the sickly suspicions of jealousy itself are “confirmations strong as Holy Writ,” when weighed in the scale with the dark insinuations, the inconclusive inferences, and the unsupported assertions of this minister of the National Scotch Church.
- Here's a large mouth, indeed,
SHAKSPEARE. Proof, proof, Mr. Irving, is what we desiderate; mere assertions, and general charges, however vehement and however bitter, without the adduction of positive and palpable overt acts to demonstrate their truth, affect the character of him alone who has the temerity to make them; and we must hear something more persuasive than the vague declamation of a public accuser, however eloquent, and we must see something more convincing than the multiplied innuendos of a special pleader, however ingenious, ere we acknowledge the high crimes and misdemeanors, with which Mr. Irving has so fearlessly charged "the Christian Church."
Our readers will easily perceive that we cannot, in the limits of a review, examine separately every count in Mr. Irying's elaborate performance; and, therefore, we must select a few of them by way of example. We turn, then, almost at hazard, to the charge of