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dangers of intemperance : TOŪTO TË Koivóv éoti katà máyTWY Tūr αγαθών, πλην αρετής, και μάλιστα κατά των χρησιμωτάτων, οίον ισχύος, υγιείας, πλούτου, στρατηγίας τοιούτοις γαρ άν τις ωφελήσειε τα μέγιστα, χρώμενος δικαίως και βλάψειεν, άδικώς.*
Besides, the faithful dispensers of the inspired word should remember that it is their duty to declare “All the counsel of God," and to guard their hearers against the errors into which others may lead them.
If they chance to listen to some wild Antinomian fanatic, who cites perpetually texts from St. Paul, which they have never heard differently explained, how can it be expected that they should perceive and avoid the error? They know that St. Paul's writings are admitted as canonical and inspired; and they have not been taught that his language will bear any other interpretation than what they hear given ; and the silence of their own pastor on the subject will have afforded them a presumption that he can suggest no other interpretation. And thus the wolf will scatter and devour the flock, which their shepherd has forsaken.Pp. 63, 64.
Our limits compel us to omit much important matter contained in the admirable Essay before us. How St. Paul's writings are to be studied ; what makes them so distasteful to those who decry him; and why Unitarians (as they are pleased insinuatingly to call themselves) so torture his expressions, and so depreciate his authority; we must forego the satisfaction of stating from the pages of Dr. Whately, though we cannot do him the injustice to withhold from our readers his eloquent peroration to this Essay, in which, having alluded to a modern work, entitled, “ Not Paul, but Jesus," he thus expresses his sentiments :
Next, after an able, and full, and interesting vindication and explanation of St. Paul's writings, the sort of work whose appearance ought most to be hailed, is a plausible attack on them; which, indeed, is the most likely to call forth the other. His labours can never be effectually frustrated except by being kept out of sight: whatever brings him into notice, will ultimately bring him into triumph; all the malignity and the sophistry of his adversaries will not only assail him in vain, but will lead in the end to the perfecting of his glory, and the extension of his Gospel. They may scourge him uncondemned, like the Roman magistrates at Philippi ;—they may inflict on him the lashes of calumnious censure,--but they cannot silence him ;—they may thrust nim into a dungeon, and fetter him with their strained interpretations; but his voice will be raised, even at the midnight of unchristian darkness, and will be heard effectually ;-his prison-doors will burst open as with an earthquake, and the fetters will fall from his hands; and even strangers to gospel-truth will fall down at the feet of him, even Paul, to make that momentous inquiry,—“ What shall I do to be saved ?" -Pp. 73, 74.
From this general defence of the Apostle of the Gentiles, our author proceeds to the consideration of certain doctrines, " particular views of which have mainly contributed to the dread, felt by many, of St. Paul's writings." His third Essay, accordingly, discusses the
* Aristot. Rhet. lib. i. c. 1. § 4.
these zealous Mists on the oneat divisions,
heir love of
doctrine of election, upon which there have ever been great divisions, and no little bitterness displayed by Calvinists on the one hand, and Arminians on the other; these zealous combatants have displayed, sometimes, their love of hypothesis rather than a love of each other; and have so fought the battle of faith as to manifest their utter forgetfulness of charity. It is, therefore, quite delightful to witness the spirit with which Dr. Whately has handled this thorny point. Whether the divine election be arbitrary, or has respect to men's foreseen conduct; who are the elect; and what election is; whoever wishes to learn, may consult the admirable Essay before us. Considering that the Levitical dispensation, to which St. Paul makes constant reference, was confessedly a shadow of the Gospel, our author contends that the condition of the Israelites was analogous to the condition of Christians; and that both dispensations being corresponding parts of one great plan, the benefits and privileges of each are bestowed according to a similar system in each.
He, who diligently looks to the analogy both of God's ordinary dealings with man, and of his former dispensation to the Jews, and who carefully interprets the New Testament by the Old, will be enabled to clear up the greater part of a difficulty, which has furnished matter of dispute among Christians for many centuries. By contemplating the correspondence between the Jewish and the Gospel-schemes, he will clearly perceive that there is no such distinction among Christians as the “Called" and the uncalled,—the “ Elect" and the non-elect; that the Gospel itself is a call to all who have heard it;—and that those who, instead of obeying it, wait for any further call, are deluded by the father of lies, who is watching for their destruction. He will perceive, that though all born in a Christian country, and initiated into Christ's church, are arbitrarily elected to this invaluable privilege, their salvation is not arbitrary, but will depend on the use they make of their privileges; those, namely, to which all Christians are called, -the knowledge of the Gospel,—the aids of the Holy Spirit,--and the offer of eternal life ;—privileges, of which all are exhorted, but none compelled, to make a right use; and which will prove ultimately either a blessing or a curse to each, according to the use he makes of them.-Pp. 101, 102.
Our Essayist maintains, it will be seen, that as the divine election under the Mosaic dispensation was arbitrary (for the Jews were singled out from the midst of other nations, it is recorded, " because God had a favour unto them,”) so the members of the Christian church are arbitrarily selected and called to this privilege, out of the world, according to God's unsearchable will. It is further maintained, that as the calling and selection of the Jews was common, “ not to some only, but to every one of that nation, whether he chose to avail himself of this promise, or to convert it into a curse by his neglect of it; so "every Christian is called and elected to the Christian privileges, just as every Jew was to his; but that it rests with us to use or to abuse the advantage;" that as the Israelites nad the offer of the promised land, on condition of their obedience, and, therefore, many of them perished in the wilderness because they were rebellious;
so, “no Christian is elected to eternal salvation, absolutely, but only to the knowledge of the Gospel, to the privileges of the Christian church, to the offer of God's Holy Spirit, and to the promise of final salvation, on condition of being a faithful servant of Christ.”—P. 97.
It is thus that Dr. Whately distinguishes between election to certain privileges and to final reward, and shews that it is one thing to be chosen to a blessing absolutely, and another to be favoured with the offer of one conditionally. Election is, indeed, arbitrary, and irrespective of foreseen faith and obedience; but election to gospel privileges does not necessarily lead to salvation. But, the predestinarian will appeal to the similitude of the potter and the clay to prove that God has from eternity decreed the salvation or perdition of each individual, without any other reason than his own pleasure. How adroitly our learned Principal not merely masks this battery, but converts it into a destructive engine against his opponents, the following extract is a proof :
This similitude, as far as it goes, rather makes against them; since the potter never makes any vessel for the express purpose of being broken and destroyed. This comparison accordingly agrees much better with the view here taken. The potter, according to his own arbitrary choice, makes “ of the same lump one vessel to honour and another to dishonour;" i.e. some to nobler, and some to meaner uses; but all, for some use; none with design that it should be cast away, and dashed to pieces : even so, the Almighty of his own arbitrary choice, causes some to be born to wealth or rank; others to poverty and obscurity ;some in a heathen, and others in a Christian country; the advantages and privileges bestowed on each are various, and, as far as we can see, arbitrarily dispensed; the final rewards or punishments depend, as we are plainly tanght, on the use or abuse of those advantages.- Pp. 105, 106.
Oh, but what shall be said to the hardening of Pharaoh's heart? For our author's admirable reply to the Calvinistic argument usually drawn from the case of the King of Egypt, we must refer our readers to the volume before us, and particularly to page 107.
With regard to the metaphysical difficulties that have been raised upon the doctrine of election, we may observe, that they have originated, for the most part, from the unavoidable ambiguities of language, which end in a bewildering maze of fruitless logomachy. How erroneously men have inferred the necessity of human actions from God's certain foreknowledge of them; whereas an event, admitting of no doubt, is perfectly compatible with the freedom of the agent;-how the divine prescience of “ contingent” or “uncertain" events has perplexed the scholar with difficulties “not its own," because it has been forgotten" that the same thing may be contingent and uncertain to one person, which is not so to another, since those terms denote no quality in the events themselves; "—is well stated in our author's Essay on Election, whom we beg leave to refer to Wollaston's Religion of Nature, sect. 5, pp. 185, 186, for a curious illustration of his own argument, “ Let it be supposed that you were fully acquainted with the inclinations of some man,” &c. &c., as stated in p. 113 of the volume on our table; and we take this opportunity of summoning Dr. W.'s attention to the letter of " Theophilus,” touching Art. VI. No. X. of the Theological Review of that portion of his Essay, which immediately follows the paragraphs that have just been mentioned.
The Calvinistic scheme, as expounded by its soundest advocates, " is reduced to a purely speculative dogma, barren of all practical results ;” and, therefore,
The natural inference must be, that these doctrines are not such as we can reasonably expect at least to find revealed in Scripture; and if not so revealed, be they true or false, they can constitute no part of the Christian faith. #
* Let it not be said, however, that, being at least harmless, it is unimportant whether they are inculcated or not; they are harmless, to those who adopt them in the sense and with the qualifications just mentioned ; but it does not follow that they are harmless to others; * * they may prove a stumbling-block to those who do not hold them, by raising a prejudice against other doctrines,—some of the most important of Christianity,—when taught in conjunction with these, and represented as connected with them. * Christianity may be loaded with a weight that sinks it; and the mischiefs ensuing will be justly imputable to the rashness of those who give occasion to them. Pp. 121, 122.
The fourth Essay is upon “Perseverance and assurance :" in which the Doctor's sound judgment is displayed in a very favourable light. The impossibility of the ultimate failure of the elect, and their complete conviction of their safety, are mischievous and damnable absurdities, against which, with God's permission, we shall ever raise an uncompromising opposition. They are notions founded upon a wretched perversion of Scripture, and their issue can be nothing but arrogance of heart, or carelessness of life.
It should be remembered, however, that we may in our extreme caution against one danger, fall into the opposite. Presumptuous confidence, and careless security, are indeed evils to be carefully guarded against; but they are not the only evils to be apprehended :—despondency, and, what is more likely to occur, a deadness of the affections in all that relates to religion, and a total aversion of the mind towards it, may be generated, in some persons at least, by dwelling too much and too earnestly on the chances of ultimate failure.—P. 127.
Accordingly, our Essayist steers his judicious course mid-way between these opposite perils ; a task of no ordinary difficulty,év ékáory yàp rò uérov daßeīv, cópov.* We beg leave to confine our panegyric, however, to the general argument, and the substance of this Essay; and we should certainly object to Dr. Whately's state. ment relative to the preference which “ a thoughtful mind” would give to certain annihilation over “THE REMOTEST CHANCE of endless misery." (P. 129.) If there were not “ the remotest risk" of perishing,
never makes an
so, “no Christian is elected to eternal salvation, absr" should we be to the knowledge of the Gospel, to the privilege and trembling?" church, to the offer of God's Holy Spirit, and t vrbear to argue the salvation, on condition of being a faithful serva lapsus calami, which
It is thus that Dr. Whately distinguir nfidence of success does, certain privileges and to final reward, and “Possunt quia posse videnbe chosen to a blessing absolutely, an riginate from a persuasion that the offer of one conditionally. Ele of falling, would have no such irrespective of foreseen faith and is the Christian warrior, if some
t necessarily of victory, yet equally often with the narian will appeal to the sir Israel to the proud monarch of Syria, prove that God has from this harness, boast himself as he that of each individual, withr, How adroitly our lear
Assay on the abolition of the Mosaic lan with but converts it into ***
in of approbation, but our space denies us the following extract is
e our pages with any quotations from thence. · This similitude, it to all who wish to have clear notions upon a
it well so greatsy perverted, and so 11 This comparison potter, accord'
We cannot go the full length of all the Doctor's vessel to hornhinta the abrogation of the Mosaic law, to which we meaner us * on some future occasion; for the present it may away, ani de
s ourselves of the number of those who believe,
" that it is a gross mistake to consider the Sabbath privil
vival of the Jewish Church, deriving its whole sanctity itical law." * The mention of this institution closes of the creation; it derived no part of its sanctity from ir of the Mosaic code, and, therefore, it is unaffected ogation of that code. “ The worship of the Christian
gain to quote the words of Horsley, “is properly to be od as a restoration of the patriarchal, in its primitive simnd purity; and of the patriarchal worship, the Sabbath was blest, and, perhaps, the simplest rite.” We Christians have
nothing to do with the precepts, the promises, or the threats Old Testament, relative to the Jewish Sabbath; but the obser
of the Sabbath, which was instituted ať the creation, and Face be it remarked, was known to the Jews previously to the giving he law, is a part of Christianity ;-" it was not only a general
at the time of the institution, but, in the nature of the thing, of werpetual importance.” When we read how God “rested on the seventh day,” and “ blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it;" what are we to understand, but that he THEN appropriated this day to religious exercises? “ Therefore the Lord blessed the seventh day,
causes s som
og Hustr, " that * man festival Power Levitical ak Asmory of the the suthority of Ar tide abrogatia atarh," again avsidered as pliciy and ou
the noblest, httle or nothin of the Old T
Fation of the
* Bishop Horsley's Sermons.