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appeared the most vulnerable. as into one focus, the multiplied Against the whole body of the rays of perfection which flow in Christian evidence, we are not from each department, and from aware that a single treatise exists, every point of the impregnable even pretending to the character of circle of proof. Let it be supposed a full and calm examination. It that each species of the separate has been almost uniformly the prac- and independent proof is absolutely tice of opponents to trust more to perfect in its kind, then their conthe keen edge of their ridicule, currence, one after another, in proof than to the force and weight of of the main position, acts upon the their blow. They have more fre. conviction, with a force analogous, quently dealt in dark insinuations, not to the numerical, but to the than in clear and candid reason- geometrical progression. Now that ings. Hence Christianity has ex- such completeness and perfection perienced every thing but impar- belong to each section of the tiality and justice at their hands; Christian proof, may easily be their reasonings have borne the shown-has, indeed, been shown stamp of every thing rather than of repeatedly. Mr. D.'s effort is dia well-informed and calm under- rected to the argument from "prostanding. Their motto has been phecy, and we have to acknow“ Stratagem,” divide and de- ledge the obligations of the Chrisstroy. Their objections are now tian public for a more lucid and become the most undisciplined and simple arrangement, both of the frantic rabble that ever took the matter and course of prophecy, than field against a great cause, and their has yet been attempted ; and for a warfare the most lawless and ha- proof of its inspiration as calm and 'rassing :-warfare, indeed, it now complete, .as eloquent and satisscarcely deserves to be denominated, factory as any it has been our lot since it neither consists in manly to peruse. From this portion of assault, nor is conducted upon any the work we select the following general and equal terms; nor is passage, as illustrative of the judiupheld by men of courage and cious primary distribution the author of honour; it is the warfare of the makes of the general contents of banditti ; its terms are those of the the prophetic writing. assassin ; and its courage and honour belong rather to the wolf, "If we take up the prophetic volume, honour belong rather to the wolf
we find it readily distinguishes itself into than to the lion.
two parts, which may be called the Moral The remarks premised by our or Doctrinal, and the Predictive ; and author at the outset of his discus- although these parts were not disjoined in sion oreo loubted to add innol sion, are calculated to add incal
the first communication of prophecy, or in
the design of it, it will conduce to our eulable force to the argument in
purpose to take a view of them separately. favour of Christianity ; and to i begin with the first, the Moral or Docrender its triumph as unquestionable trinal, which I shall go through with as as it is complete. But though much conciseness as I can, in the present
discourse, that, this done, we may give an great weight is due to Mr. Davison's
VISOS undivided attention to the prediction, the constructive or aggregate argument, more eminent branch of the same Reveeven where some degrees of deficien- lation. cy might seem to remain in the sepa- . " 1. Prophecy, then, is not a series of rate sections of the proof; yet it is
mere predictions ; far from it; it abounds
in matter of another kind; I mean the by no means intended that this ar- continued strain of moral doctrine which gument should be employed as an runs through it; including under that apology or extenuation of any such name the only efficacious and sufficient deficiency. Its value consists not
moral doctrine, that which is founded
upon a knowledge of God, his attributes, in covering defects in the detail of and his will, with a sense of the direct, the argument, but in concentrating, personal, and responsible relation of man N. S. No. 24.
to him. Accordingly the most frequent if not mistaken, in its constituent cha. subjects of the prophets are the laws of racter, as to what it really is. God, his supreme dominion, and his uni- « The double sense of prophecy, howversal providence, the majesty of his na- ever, is of all things the most remote from ture, his spiritual being, and his holiness; fraud and equivocation, and has its ground together with the obligations of obedience of reason perfectly clear. For what is to Him, in the particular duties of an it? Not the convenient latitude of two inward faith and worship; and of justice unconnected senses, wide of each other, and mercy to man; the whole of these and giving room to a fallacious ambiguity; duties en forced by explicit sanctions of re- but the combination of two related, anaward and punishment. These original logous and harmonizing, though disparate principles of piety and morals overspread subjects, each clear and definite in itself, the pages of the book of prophecy. They implying a two-fold truth in the prescience, are brought forward, they are inculcated and creating an aggravated difficulty, and from first to last. They are often the thereby an accumulated proof in the comsubject when nothing future is in ques pletion. For a case in point ; to justify tion; they are constantly interwoven with the predictions concerning the kingdom of the predictions; they are either the very David, in their double force, it must be thing propounded, or connected with it'; shewn of them, that they hold in each of and all the way they are impressed with their relations, and in each were fulfilled. a distinctness and energy of instruction so that the double sense of prophecy, in which sbew it was none of the secondary its true idea, is a check upon the pretences ends of the prophet's mission to be this of vague and unappropriated prediction, teacher of righteousness ; insomuch that, rather than a door to admit them. if we except the gospel itself, there can no “ But this is not all. For if the predic. . where be shewn, certainly not in the works tion distribute its sense into two remote
or systems of pagan wisdom, so much branches or systems of the Divine economy, of decisive and luminous information, if it shews not only what is to take place concerning the unity, providence, mercy, in distant times, but describe also different and moral government of God, and man's modes of God's appointment, though boldduty founded upon his will, as is to be ing a certain and intelligible resemblance gathered from the prophetic volume.” to each other; such prediction becomes pp. 41-43.
not only more convincing in the argument, It is not easy to afford the reader but more instructive in the doctrine, be. even a specimen of the able and cause it expresses the correspondence of
God's dispensations in their points of luminous display the author gives a
me au nor gives agreement, as well as his fore-knowof the predictive portion of the ledge. prophecies. The whole is so com- Of the validity and rectitude of this pact, and so thoroughly connected interpretation, by a double sense, there is that we have looked in vain for a
" a simple and decisive test, which will shew
ain for a . at once where it may with safety, and separable page or two that might should in reason, be admitted. The text answer our purpose. We shall, is, that each of the subjects ascribed to therefore, leave this portion of the the prophecy be such as may challenge the
right of it, in its main import, and meet volume, highly valuable as it is, to volume, nguy valuable as it is, to it in its obvious representation; other present our readers with the views reasonable conditions being observed, as to of Mr. Davidson on the double the known general tendency of the whole sense of prophecy Speaking of volume of prophecy. When the divided the age of David, he says :
application asserts itself in this manner,
the principle is certain, the reason we have “ This age of prophecy in particular, to follow is clear, and the prophecy is brings the doctrine of the double sense, doubly authentic. But when it does not, as it has been called, before us. For Scrip. the principle having no safer ground to ture Prophecy is so framed in some of its rest upon, ought not to be entertained, predictions, as to bear a sense directed to least of all it should be applied to predictwo objects; of wbich structure, the pre- tions, of which the general import is doubtdictions concerning the kingdom of David ful, or of less note and prominence in furnish a conspicuous example; .and I itself. For the pursuit of a double meaning, should say, an unquestionable one, if the under such circumstances, must soon corwhole principle of that kind of interpre- rupt the whole interpretation of propbecy, tation had not been by some disputed and and engender infinite conceits and trifling denied. But the principle has met with comments of a spurious unprofitable ingethis ill acceptance, for no better reason, it nuity. Whereas the wisdom of God has should seem, than because it has been in- made prophecy, and all other Scripture, judiciously applied, in cases where it had to minister to better and nobler purposes no proper place; or has been suspected, of argument and information. Under 213.
this conviction, I would understand the willing to 'favour the Calvinistic double sense to obtain only in some of the theory upon this point, and yet fully more distinguished monuments of pro
convinced that the opposers of that phecy, where the force and clearness of the description, and the adequate magnitude doctrine have fallen into far worse of the subjects, concur in giving simplicity errors, our author makes an effort to the combined views of them, and render to throw some light upon this subthe divided application at once necessary,
ject, by resolving the difficulty into
i rational, and perspicuous."-pp. 210
the peculiar perfection of the divine
knowledge. "He appears to mainIt may, be thought, perhaps, tain that God can foresee the acthat the most important and valu- tions which are essentially and abable observation in this passage solutely contingent, and therefore that relating to the accumulated predict them. He asserts the docproof of divine inspiration, resulting trine of philosophical liberty, and from “ the double sense,” is derived yet clearly admits the perfection of from Bishop Horsley's memorable the divine prescience, and mainsermons on 2 Pet. i. 20. There tains that the divine decree regards can be no doubt that the germ of the effects of such actions as are the idea is to be found in Horsley, evil in the human agent, but not and that he has brought much in- the action itself. teresting matter to the illustration . We are little disposed to enter at of the actrine of the “double large upon a subject on which we sense.” But we must confess that are conscious we can throw no light Mr. Davison has succeeded far be- and we are as little inclined to yond the Bishop in laying down dispute with our worthy author something like a test of its appli- some of the niceties of this section cation, and in illustrating the addi- of his work. The utmost, we imational force it has in proof of fore- gine, that can now be attained, is knowledge and inspiration. We to supply cautionary checks, on the are happy, indeed, to find a divine one hand, against the absurdities of Mr. Davison's cool and cautious of those who would restrict the character, giving his powerful sup- divine foreknowledge, or make port to a mode of interpretation omniscience, as Dr. A. Clarke has which had been rejected and repro- done, only the power of knowing bated by a large class of the philo- all-not actual knowledge,-and sophic and philological schools on the other hand, against the not of Theologians. Bishop Horsley less absurd ascription to the Alfrankly .confesses, that before he mighty of the actual causation of had sifted the subject to the bottom, evil. We perfectly agree with Mr. which he fears few had done, he D. in the two extremes of the had maintained that no prophecy question, which to human undernf Scripture could carry a double standings appear so opposed. We meaning, or that if it appeared to believe as fully as he does in the do so, it was because the one true free agency of man, and we are senso was not discovered.
happy to find he announces, as The great question involved in clearly as we could wish, his belief prophecy, of the connexion between of the divine foreknowledge, and divine foreknowledge and human explains that foreknowledge, withfree agency, though it scarcely fell out equivocation, to comprehend all within the scope of Mr. Davison's the actions even of free agents. It undertaking, and might, without is only in his attempt to solve the any injury to the cause, or to difficulty that we find cause to obhis reputation, have been omitted, ject. It were surely better to leave is vet handled in the seventh dis- the subject in the bare statement course with no mean ability. One of the two extreme facts, than to have introduced, as he has done, not devolve upon us to explain ; an explanation, which precipitates but surely, certainty in knowledge, the doctrine headlong into contra implies necessity in the being of diction and absurdity. He says, its object. But Limborch's obser
" Certainty and necessity, not only are vation, which Mr. D. appears to us possible to be distinguished, the first as to have so incautiously commended, belonging to knowledge, the other to the is any thing but acute. There is a nature of things, but as not implying either palpable sophism in his terms. For of them the other. For of necessary things there is often an uncertain knowledge,
he does not use them all of one and owing to the ignorance of the mind judging the same Being. He says, “ There of them; and thence, as Limborch has may be certain foreknowledge, by acutely observed, there may equally be, the perfection of the judging mind, by the perfection of the judging mind, a arma l ade h
things where the things themselves are certainty of knowledge, when the things themselves foreknown are contingent and contingent and undetermined.” It undetermined."--p. 383.
was surprising that Mr. Davison, · We are no very implicit be- at least, did not see, that if the lievers in metaphysical doctrines certain knowledge is supposed of and definitions of any kind; but God—then the contingency and inwe must say, that we have rarely determination are used in reference seen a less sound distinction than to man. For, if even man have a that of Mr. D., or a less acute ob- certain knowledge, that excludes servation than that of Limborch. contingency - uncertainty : otherIt is perfectly true, that of necessary wise, his knowledge is not certain: things there may be uncertain know- it is either deceptive that is, no ledge-more properly no knowledge knowledge at all, or else, if it on the point of certainty or contin- knows the thing as certain, then gency; but if the things are as- the contingency is excluded. A sumed to be certain, then there fortiori of God, if he has certain might be certain knowledge some- foreknowledge, then the objects where. But we cannot assent to included in that knowledge to him, the assertion of Mr. D., for these at least, cease to be contingent or two do, as applied to the divine doubtfulotherwise the real nature foreknowledge, or any other know- of the thing contradicts his knowledge of future events, imply each ledge, or his knowledge contradicts other. Would Mr. D. take upon the thing. Hence, it follows, that him to affirm, that God can foresee there is no meaning in Limborch's an event as certain, which in the observation, unless the certain knowabstract nature of things might just ledge applies to God, and the conas well not be, as be ? or for whose tingency and indetermination apbeing God could see no greater rea- ply to man. In this case, his reson than for its not being ? In fact, mark is the tritest truism that was to Him who sees all things as they ever uttered. It is only saying, are to be, nothing can be foreknown God may have certain knowledge which is not so foreknown as to where we have none at all.--But exclude entirely the possibility of we must quit the subject. What its not being. Otherwise there we have said upon it is not inwould be certainty in his know- tended to detract from the sterling ledge, but uncertainty in the object: excellence of Mr. Davison's work that is, he would not see things as a work which cannot fail to be they are. If any demonstration is as useful to the cause of truth as plain, surely it is this, that what- it is creditable to the author. It is ever is infallibly foreseen as com- specially adapted for the service of ing, cannot fail to come that is, ministers and clerical students, and it is necessary : where the necessity will be found highly instructive to exists, or how it originates, it does the private Christian.
LIST OF NEW PUBLICATIONS, WITH SHORT NOTICES,
MINUTES OF THE COMMITTEE OF we are, nevertheless, always glad to meet THE BRITISH AND FOREIGN BIBLE with him. He appears, if we may judge Society, relating to the publication of an from this pamphlet, to be somewhat anedition of the Holy Scriptures, with an noyed that the progress of his liberal Introduction prefixed by the Strasburgh sentiments is so slow in his own body. Bible Society, in the year 1819, accom- It will not be the fault of his brother panied by the official Correspondence, Ivimey, if the sentiments and their adwhich took place upon the subject. To vocates are not excluded from the baptist which is added, the particulars of the Er- denomination. He writes with great penditure of the British and Foreign warmth, invoking every true-hearted Bible Society during the last year, with Baptist to “ rise and play the man” in Observations thereon by the Auditors, defence of the sacred enclosure, which London, 1826. Price 1s.
Mr. Hall seems so desirous of breaking BIBLE SOCIETY: Remarks upon the down. Though Mr. Fuller is dead, he recent Accusations against the Committee is rejoiced that Mr. Kinghorn is alive. of the British and Foreign Bible So We trust that respectable writer will ciety. In a Letter to a Clergyman in long live, but should be glad to see him the Country, from a Lay Member of that signalize himself in another cause. We Institution. London, 1826. Price 1s. are friends of the liberal principle on the We notice these publications, because most enlarged view of it; but we canthe one is official, and the other may be not take a deep interest in this discusdeemed semi-official; being drawn up sion, as on both sides it is very much a chiefly from a document prepared at the contention in which the interests of the request of the Committee. The minutes Baptist body are alone concerned. In relate entirely to the Strasburgh Bible; that body, we might venture to say, is the second pamphlet embraces, as the the sentiment for which Mr. Hall contitle indicates, a wider range. The dis- tends exclusively opposed. While they cussion is now taking its proper course. glory in the eloquent preacher, many of The Committee are laying the details of them seem ashamed of his partial advotheir proceedings before their consti- cacy of their eause. We are sure he has tuents as expeditiously as they can. much more reason to be ashamed of We trust they will go on with as much them; as he is unquestionably formed despatch as possible. All the members for a more liberal community than that of the Society ought to make themselves which lays the chief claim to his frafamiliar with these documents, which ternity. will be found far more satisfactory than S ImpliCITY IN MINISTERIAL ADany reasonings either for or against the DRESSES RECOMMENDED: a Discourse Committee. Any abstract or abridgment delivered, June 28, 1826, in Broadmead by us would injure the effect which the Meeting House, Bristol, before the Brisfull statements are fitted to produce; we tol Education Society. By John Kertherefore cordially recommend both pam- shaw, M. A. London: Wightman and phlets to the attention of our readers. Cramp, 1826. Price 1s. 6d. . We believe the next statement of the Tue ADVANTAGES ARISING FROM Committee will relate to the Lausanne THE COMBINATION OF LEARNING WITH Bible.
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