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speculations. Hume, in his turn, seems to have had no relish for Voltaire's asp-like sarcasm, or the coarseness of Tom Paine. Rousseau's infidelity is yet another compound of romance and poetry, eloquent inconsistency, and scientific paradox. All these, however, and indeed the whole herd of French and English Deists may hide their diminished heads before that most refined and sublimated form of unbelief—the pseudo-theology of modern German critics. This has incomparably more the air of truth, because it wears her outer garments, mimics her motions, and adopts her phrascology. Against a professed or reputed Deist, common sense is on its guard; but not against Doctors and Professors of Divinity. This seems to be the master-piece, this assumption of truth's colours by the pirate ships of error, this possession of truth’s body by the demon of mendacity. Nor does the execution fall below the rare device. Such caution, such nicety, such tact, such remote investigations, such microscopic scrutiny, such diligent employment of “appliances and aids,” such displays of candour, such rigorous adherence to established canons, in a word, such efficacious means have never been adopted in the cause of truth, as for years have been effectually and constantly employed by these Scribes and Rabbies in the Synagogue of Satan. Nothing can easily exceed the subtlety evinced by some of these ambuscades in their attacks upon the Bible. Metaphysical sophistry may unsettle the belief, or cloud the understanding; but it can soon be reduced to the standard of first principles, and is commonly, moreover, an enemy professed. But in this new warfare, there is, or seems to be, so much common ground, the foe concedes and parleys and negociates so much, that we are perfectly bewildered. We defy any man who has been only familiar with the tactics and strategics of old fashioned infidelity, to commit himself a fortnight to such trusty guides as Eichhorn, de Wette, &c. &c. &c. and at the end of that time to tell whether his own belief is standing on its head or feet. It has been so universally the practice for the skeptic to set out by a rejection of the Scriptures, (as the word of God,) that when we find a critic not merely doing no such thing expressly, but confronting us boldly with a long array of lexicons, and grammars, expositions, illustrations, and critical apparatuses, it seems unfair to regard him with suspicion. These things may appear to have a very slight connexion with this work of Dr. Hengstenberg; but as we said before, that work has now suggested them, although they have of course been often present to our thoughts on different occasions. He has been obliged to quote a multitude of arguments from his opponents, for the purpose of refuting them, and we are free to confess that we have been astonished at the plausibility and air of truth which some of them exhibit. It is true, that they are wanting in consistency; the same writer shifting the very basis of his reasonings, again and again, to provide for some new exigency; but it is in this very thing that their cunning is most visible. It is by breaking up the surface of a subject, so to speak, by clouding the general view, and confining the attention to detached particulars, by means of minute discussion and the parade of accuracy even in minutiæ, that the object is effected. The first thing to be done in opposition to their acts, is to bring the aggregate amount of evidence in favour of the truth to bear at once upon the reader's mindthe next thing is to sweep away the particles of rubbish which, like ants or beetles, they have heaped up one by one. Both these, Dr. Hengstenberg has skilfully accomplished in relation to the highly important subject of his volume.
But it is time to name the other thing which strikes us with such force. That other thing is, the depth of the riches both of the knowledge and wisdom of God, as seen in the overruling of these very artifices, to the praise of the glory of his grace. We may perhaps be charged with treating mere contingencies as facts, and describing what at the furthest is yet future, and may never happen, as a present reality. We do believe, however, that the end of all this will be gloriousthat not a grain of the dust which has been thrown into our eyes will be without its use; but that all this apparatus which the enemy has reared against the battlements of Zion, shall be finally applied to the mighty pulling down of his own strong holds. In this very book, for example, there are objections stated, which, if taken by themselves, without any sort of antidote, would shake the faith of any man. Every dark corner of antiquities, geography and history, appears to have been ransacked for the weapons of this warfare. Now, while these remain unvanquished, the effect must be pernicious. But only suppose the enemy disarmed, and the advantage is a glorious one. We have not only merely recovered what appeared to have been lost; we have done more. We are masters of his stores and ammunition, and have gained a vantage ground, which renders every onset irresistible. This
change in the fortunes of the fight is now begun. It was in vain to cry peace when there was no peace, by affecting to denounce all learned criticisms as a sin and folly. It was equally vain to pass the matter by, as concerning none but Germans, and arising from their idiosyncracies of intellect. The cordon was passed, and a defence was wanted. The abuse of learning calls not for ignorance, but learning well applied. A better safeguard against the biblical skepticism of the Germans, could not have been provided, than that improvement in biblical literature which has actually taken place in England and America. But to carry the war into the enemy's country, something more was necessary. It was necessary that champions for the truth should arise in the very midst of its assailants, armed with their armour, skilled in their devices. The ablest foreigner would find hard to wield their lances and direct their darts; and against all other weapons their habergeons are impervious. Let us rejoice, then, that the providence of God has raised up some eyen there, to battle for the faith; and let us pray that while they are engaged in this sharp conflict, the Lord, their strength, will teach their hands to war and their fingers to fight. We have reason, likewise, to take courage from certain movements in the enemy's camp. Extreme minuteness of investigation, seems, after intoxicating some minds, to have begun to sober them again. Rosenmüller has here and there abandoned an outwork once tenaciously maintained; and the first Hebrew scholar of the day, erroneous as he is, falls very far below the pitch of infidel credulity which some of his disciples and admirers have attained. This seems to show that it is not much learning," but the smattering of sciolists, that tends to make men mad. At any rate, we may indulge the hope that when a few more Hengstenbergs and Tholucks have arisen, the victory, even in the schools of Germany, will be confessedly upon the side of truth.
ART. IV.- DOMESTIC MISSIONS.
1. The Fifteenth Annual Report of the Board of Missions
of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church.
Presented May, 1831. 2. The Fifth Annual Report of the Home Missionary
Society. Presented May, 1831.
These annual reports of two very important Missionary Boards, have received, what they undoubtedly merit, a large share of public attention. It is deeply to be regretted, however, that this attention, in the minds of so many individuals, should have been connected with feelings of controversy, of ardent rivalship, and even of something allied to hostility. We have no desire to revive, much less to extend, these feelings. Much rather would we allay or terminate them, especially as we entertain the opinion that they ought never to have been excited. But the recent perusal of the reports before us, has given rise to a train of thought which we feel inclined to lay before our readers.
In reflecting on the objects and the posture of the two Boards, whose reports are before us, one of the first thoughts which arose in our minds, was that of regret and even of surprise, that either of them should ever have entertained the wish of amalgamation, or, indeed, of any other kind of official connection with the other. We will not stop to inquire with which of them a proposal of this kind originated, or by which it has been warmly and perseveringly urged: but with whomsoever it originated, or by whomsoever it was pressed, we are persuaded that, however plausible it might have, at first, appeared, and however favoured for a time by the friends of peace, a more unwise proposal was never made; whether we have respect to the prosperity and efficiency of the Boards themselves, or the amount of usefulness which they might hope, jointly or severally, to be the means of imparting to the Redeemer's kingdom.
The truth is, the ministers and members of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, are seriously divided in opinion on several questions, and among the rest, on this, viz. “Whether, in conducting Missionary operations, it is better to act by an Ecclesiastical body, or by a voluntary
association.” In reference to this question, it is not easy to say on which side the majority lies. On each side, there is, undoubtedly, much piety, talent, zeal, and activity. And where conscientious men not only think differently, but feel strongly, and attach great importance to their respective opinions and feelings, there seems no possibility, without a miracle, of avoiding controversy; and controversy rendered on the one hand more ardent and impassioned, and, on the other, more mischievous and deplorable, by the very circumstance that those who are engaged in it are good men, and act on honest and deep conviction.
If we be asked with which of these disputants we agree? we answer, we do not entirely agree with either. We think both, to a certain extent, right, and both wrong. We are of the opinion, that every Church which believes her professed doctrines, and values her own peculiar order, owes it to her Master in heaven, to the cause of truth, and to herself, to endeavour to propagate, as extensively as she can, these doctrines and this order; and to do this in her ecclesiastical capacity. In fact, every Church, that would be faithful to the great object for which a Church was instituted, ought to consider herself as a MISSIONARY SOCIETY, bound to maintain in perfect purity, and to spread abroad to every creature, all the doctrines and institutions of Christ. That Church which contributes largely of the pecuniary means which God has given her towards the propagation of the Gospel, and the building up of Zion, and yet gives the application of these means entirely out of her own hands to an irresponsible body or bodies of men, who may or may not employ them agreeably to her wishes, may be pious, and zealous, and active; but surely cannot be considered as faithful to her own confession and testimony before men. If she does not believe her doctrine and order to be conformed to the word of God, she ought not to attempt, for one moment, to maintain them; but if she really supposes them to be founded upon, and agreeable to, the only infallible rule of faith and practice, she ought not indeed to be bigotedly or blindly attached to them; she ought not to cherish an offensive, proselyting spirit; far less ought she, with fierce and fiery zeal, or by any other indirect or unsuitable means, to attempt to enlarge her borders. But still she ought, undoubtedly, by all fair, honest, and honourable means, to endeavour to extend the reception of the influence of what she verily believes to be the truth as it is in
VOL. IV. No. I. -K