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which it does not profess to remove. But it is a sufficient reason for not rejecting on that ground wbat Christianity does reveal, that these difficulties are intinitely aggravated, that the book of nature becomes still more inexplicable, it we set aside Revelation.
The credibility of the doctrine of Redemption depends, Mr. Sumner remarks, on the reception given to the former point, the essential demerit of sin. Every offence which is committed against the light of reason, or of conscience, or of the Divine law, is a practical effect of the prevailing error, that the conduct of non is a matter of indifference to their Creator..
• Multitudes imagine that, though what they consider very heinous sins may be avenged, yet, a neglect of their Maker, and a systematic indulgence of their natural passions, and in particular the transgression, whatever it be, to which they are individually most addicted, will be passed over. The deceitfulness of the heart, the prevalence of vice, the moral disorders of the world, encourage all these delusions. Men contemplate the habits of their fellow-creatures, instead of the Divine holiness; and comfort theniselves with the poor satisfaction, that the majority are in the same condition with themselves,
• Now, of these vague or false imaginations, every one is swept away, when the mysterious truth,-God appearing in the furin and suffering the punishment of man,-is received into the heart. So stupendous a sacrifice discovers the misery of those in whose favour it was prepared. It speaks a language which cannot be refuted: a language addressed to the heart, no less than the reason. It puts an end to the delusive hope, that men may pass through the world re. gardless of God as their Creator, and disobedient to Him as their Moral Governor, and yet fear no evil : that if any eternity lies before them, it must be an eternity of lappiness. Let them bé once persuaded, that one who “ was with God in the beginning, and was God," became man, that he might redeem men from the penalty in. curred by their sins ; that he might satisfy the offended justice of God in behalf of all who should commit themselves to him as a deliverer and a ruler ;-then there is an end of all vague conjectures and groundless expectations. We know that sin is noticed, nay, is condemned by God, because he required a propitiation for it: we are sure that its recompense is dreadful, since a dreadful recompense has already been exacted. If Jesus underwent the death which is reserved for the worst of human crimes, we have convincing evidence of the doom which impends over all for whom he is not a substitute. His cross exhibits an inscription which testifies at once " the goodness and severity of God: on them that continue rebellious, severity: but goodness towards all that receive his goodness." For if God spared not his own Son, if the bitter cup might not p
from him except he drank it, how vain must be the prevalent expe ation, that, if there is another world, those who fear him, and the wlio fear lim not, will fare in it equally well!
* The force of this palpable argument, this sensible proof of the evil of sin, is sufficiently exemplified by its effects. It daily produces a transformation of moral character which nothing else cau atchieve. Its power is attested by the fact, which some deny, and others treat as a paradox, but which really admits of easy explanation, and is confirmed by every page in the annals of Christianity: that those persons are uniformly the most fearful of sin, and the most singular in their walk of holiness, wito have the fullest reliance upon redemption through Jesus. There is nothing wonderful or unaccountable in this: it is the natural effect of their beliet. For they, of all men, have the liveliest conviction of the responsibility, danger, and lamentable consequences of sin. Others may hesitate, and do hesitate to admit the certainty of its condemnation. But they who believe in the sacrifice of Christ have the clearest apprehension and assurance of this truth. Nothing can make so certain the punishment whiels, if indulged, it will hereafter incar, as the punishment which it has actually incurred. In proportion, therefore, as a man's views of the atonement are clear, his abhorrence and dread of opposing the Divine will are sincere and operative. The cross of Christ is at once a refuge in which his conscience may find shelter, and a beacon holding forth to him a constant warning against the carelessness, the errors, and the corruptions of the world.
• If this is the natural tesult and the practical effect of the death of Jesus, we seem to approach towards a clearer understanding of the wisdom of that mysterious dispensation.' pp. 281–285.
We must make room for the following admirable passage, which occurs in this same chapter : the Author is shewing how wonderfully suited are even the indirect effects of the Christian doctrine to the nature and situation of mankind.
Again, the humble condition in which Jesus appeared, might at first sight be deemed inconsistent with the high character which he assumed. And certainly it is improbable, that men who contrived a fiction, should represent the Son of God to be so born and so descended ; or, if they invented the history of his life, should make it 80 little dignified, so little attractive to the imagination. But when we consider the whole purpose ascribed to him ; not only to offer an atónenient for sin, but to shew a pattern of virtue ; not only to reconeile men to God, but to “ leave them an ensample of a life led according to his will; then, what might be thought an inconsistency in his history, becomes an additional testimony to its truth. Had he assumed a situation of worldly splendour, had he been invested with the dignity of royal honours, he might have furnished an example of moderation in afluence, and of humility in power, to that very small proportion of mankind to whom riches or honours can ever belong. But to the vast majority of what mankind are and always must be in all ages, he could have left so lesson. They could not have trodden in hisosteps, for he would have walked in pathis very different from theirs.
Philosophical teachers, indeed, have commonly bestowed little thought upon the poor and uninstructed classes, who were neither able to appreciate nor repay their labours. But, in the sight of God, we cannot possibly imagine that one of his creatures is more valued than another, however different their earthly conditious. The proba. bility is, therefore, that the interests of the majority would be consulted. And to how great a degree they are consulted by the poverty and humility of Jesus, is seen by daily experience. No consolation is more frequently recurred to, or more graterully received, than the reflection that “ he came not to be ministered unto, but to minister," and olien,“ had not where to lay his head.” The evils of life lose much of their bitterness, when we believe that sinilar evils were actually experienced by him “who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven;" and who having himself suffered human trials, and known buman infirmities, is able to succour them that are tempted. For it was no temporary character that he assumed. His office was not finished nor bis mercy exhausted, when he left this world. The Christian enjoys an additional encouragement in the difficult warfare which he must needs maintain in his progress towards eternity, from the assurance, that lie whose compassion was first attracted by the state of man, still extends his care over all who apply to him; still watches their spiritual interests, and intercedes for their many failings; so that enlivened by his presence, and strengthened by his support, they may go on their way rejoicing, and fulfil the course of probation allotted to them.
• It appears, therefore, that the Christian doctrine of redemption tlirough a Mediator, is intelligible, as well as original; and is recommended to our reason no less than to our faith. Considered as it ought in all fairness to be considered, according to things as they exist, and in connexion with the actual state of the world and of mana kind, it derives additional probability from its adaptation to the purpose for which it was professediy devised. It finds mankind in a condition of noral ruin and spiritual ignorance; whatever be the cause, this fact is indisputable; and it brings to their restoration a deliverer, who is God, with power to save, who is man, with tenderness to pity ;-who has assured mankind of his love, by a proof the most incontrovertible and endearing, who is with us to animate our exertions in his service, and is with God to make intercession for our infirmities. Can we suppose a reasonable man to be asked, what would best enable him to pursue a religious course in his passage through this world, he could hardly have required less, and certainly he could not have expected more.' pp. 289–293.
Here we must close our extracts, and it cannot be necessary for us to add one word in recommendation of the work. We deem it, indeed, a very valuable addition to the class of works with which it will range. Such a work can never be deemed supérfluous, to whatever extent the field may seem to have been pre-occupied. On some points, Bishop Butler, on others, Mr. Erskine and Mr. Fuller, have employed a similar line of argument; but we recollect no work that takes at once so comprehensive a view of the subject, and treats the various branches of the argument in their mutual connexion with so much perspicuity and force. Mr. Sumner's style is luminous, chaste, and unaffected, and we cannot too higbly comorend the Christian spirit of the work. At page 206, we meet with some remarks on the supposed incompatibility of the Divine prescience with human liberty, which would lead us to suspect that he is not perfectly well acquainted with the best writers on that subject. He refers to Edwards, but to which theologian of that name, he does not specify; we presume Dr. Edwards, not the President. We never met with any writer, however, who held that unbelief is morally necessary to any 'man;' and it hardly seems worth while to say, that few persons deliberately maintain a sentiment which no one has
wild enough to advance. That election is absolute and grace irresistible,' are positions neither to be admitted nor hastily to be denied without an explanation of the terms., Possibly, Mr. Sumner might find, that, when explained, agreeably to the sense attached to them by Calvinistic writers, they are not so objectionable as he imagines. Mr. Sumner speaks of many who call themselves predestinarians :' it is somewhat remarkable, that, though our acquaintance with the religious world is tolerably extensive, we never met with any persons of this description. We presume that he himself believes in the Scripture doctrine of Predestination and Election, in the meaning attached to those terms in the Thirty-nine Articles; and if so, he is as much a ‘predestinarian' as the greater part of those who profess Calvinism. If we might presume to suppose that these pages will meet Mr. Sumner's eye, we would refer him, in explanation at least of our own sentiments as Calvinists, if not for information on the general subjects, to two articles on Dr. Copleston's Inquiry, which appeared some time since in this Journal*. We have no doubt that, if he will ascertain for himself what Calvinism is, as substantially held by those who profess it, and not take the word of their adversaries for their sentiments, he will be led to the conclusion, that at least some part—if not a very large part-of the opposition made to Calvinistic doctrines, is to be accounted for in precisely the same manner as the opposition of the sceptie to the Christian doctrine at large, or the objections of the Socinian against the doctrine of Atonement.
* Eclectic R. May 1822, and Jan. 1823.
Art. IV. Clavis Apostolica : or a Key to the Apostolic Writings; ** being an Attempt to explain the scheme of the Gospel, and the
principal Words and Phrases used by the Apostles in describing it. By the Rev. Joseph Mendham, A.M. 12mo. pp. 120. Price 88. 6d.
London. THIS small volume is a republication of a series of papers,
which originally appeared in the Christian Observer, in opposition to the principles of Dr. Taylor's • Key to the Apos
tolic Writings. The prevalence of those principles, and the sanction which they have received from some recent Authors, (among whom Bishop Watson, Paley, and Dr. Adam Clarke are distinctly noticed in the introduction to the present work,) and the tendency of the theology thus patronized to 'enervate the evangelical scheme in such a degree as to threaten its destruction, are the reasons which Mr. Mendham assigns for the publication of his remarks in this separate form. That the tendency of the principles on which he animadverts, is unfavourable to Christian truth, and subversive of its internal and spiritual influence, is, we think, but too apparent. If the object to which the doctrines and promises of the Gospel relaté, be an inward change, the renovation of the heart, it is not to be denied, that a scheme of Theology founded on the assumption of their reference to a state of privilege which does not essentially comprise such a change, must be delusive. The system of Dr. Taylor is precisely of this character. To be members of the Christian Church, and to bear those titles by which they are designated in the New Testament, do not, he maintains, express moral character, or imply internal change, but denote an external state of privilege, corresponding to the relation in which the Israelites stood towards God. It is to this scheme that Dr. Paley gave his sanction, when he contended, that the scriptural expressions, being born again, alive from the dead, created anew, &c. mean nothing to us, are not significant of any thing to be found or sought for in the present circumstances of Christianity, and that it is an error, to apply to the personal condition of Christians at this day, those titles, phrases, propositions, and arguments, which belong to the situation of Christianity at its first institution, No such change as that which the New Testament writers uniformly
can be rienced by any one educated in a Christian country,
Now to us it appears quite evident, that the writers of the New Testament give no intimation that the change on which they insist as most essential, and the state in which they represent Christians as being, in contrast with their former