Page images
PDF
EPUB

ed in the knowledge of it. For als not what use the law affords to the though a servant may be now pre- regenerate, but what it can, of it. pared in the whole earnestness (stu- self, confer on man. But here the dio) of his mind, to approve himself propbet shews (canit) with how to his master; yet he deems it ne great advantage, by the reading of cessary to search out more accu- his law, the Lord may instruct those rately, and to observe the manners whom he inwardly inspires with a of his master to which he would readiness to obey. Neither does prepare and accommodate himself, he seize the precepts alone, but the Neither let any one of us exempt promise of grace annexed to the ourselves from this necessity; for no things, which alone maketh that one, as yet, has so far penetrated sweet which is bitter. For what is into wisdom, that he cannot, by the less amiable than a law, if it only, daily teaching of the law, make by demanding and threatening, fresh progress in the purer know- urge the souls with terror, and tor. ledge of the Divine will. Then ture them with anguish? Espebecause we need, not only instruc- cially David shewetb that jo tho tion, but likewise exhortation, the law he apprehended the Mediator, servant of God will derive this ad- without whom there is no delight vantage also from the law ; that, by or sweetness. Wbile some unskilful the frequent meditation of it, he persons are ignorant of this, they may be excited to obedience, he vehemently (animosè) explode Mo. may be strengthened in it, he may ses altogether, and order the tables be drawn back from the slippery of the law to depart ; because, inpath of transgression. For, in this deed, they think that it is foreign manner, it behoves the saints to to Christians to adhere to the doc. urge themselves forward, who, ac- trine which contains the mini. 'cording to the Spirit, would aim at stration of death.' Let this profane the righteousness of God, with as opinion be far removed from our much alacrity as possible. Yet minds; for Moses excellently taught, they are always burdened by the that the law wbich, among sinders, slothfulness of the flesh, so that can produce nothing except death, they may not go forward with the ought to have a better and more commanded promptitude. The law excellent use in the saints. For is a scourge to the flesh, with wbich, thus, when about to die, be enlike a dull and slothful ass, it may joined to the people, • Place 10 be driven to the work : yea, to the your hearts all the words which spiritual man who is not yet deli. testify to you this day, that ye may vered from the weight of the flesh, command them to your children, it will be a continual spur, which and teach them to keep, and do, will not suffer him to be slotbful. and fulfil all things which are write Truly David had respect to this use ten in the volume of this law, beo when he celebrates the law with 'cause they are not in vain como those illustrious commendations; manded you, but that each of yo.. • The law of the Lord is unde- may live in them.' (Deut. xxsil, filed, converting souls; the righ- 46.) But if no one can deny that teousnesses of the LORD are right, perfect exemplar of righteousnes. rejoicing the hearts; the command shines forth in it; either we mus of the LORD is clear, enlightening have no rule of liviug rightly the eyes,' &c. Again: Thy word justly, or it is unlawful to depar is a lamp unto my feet, and a light from it. Truly there are not a unto my paths ;' and innumerable but one perpetual and me other things which he pursues, rule of living. Tberefore as throughout that whole psalm. Nor describes the life of a righteous do these things oppose the senti- as continually occupied in the ment of Paul, by which is sbewn tation of the law; let us hot

that to one age, because it is most To the Editor of the Christian Observer. fit for all ages, even to the end of the world. Nor let us, on that ac. HAVING read the first paragraph count, be frighted or fee froin its of the “ additional notes," pubinstitution, because it prescribes a lished to strengthen the Rev. Ms. far more exact holiness than we Norris's attack on the Bible. So. shall perform, while we carry about ciety, I was so much surprized at the prison of our body; for it does the author's calumny, respecting not perforni, respecting us, the “ the fundamental principle” of office of a rigorous exactor, who is this institution, as to be prompted not satisfied except with the task to examine some of the remaining fully performed; but in this perfec- pages. I thought to myself, if the tion to which it exhorts us, it shews whole volume be written in the same the mark, to which, it is not less spirit as this Appendix, it is no useful to us, than, according to our wonder that certain members of the duty, to press forward during our church establishment are alarmed. whole life. If in this pursuit (or But, as I had the means of ascercontest, contentio) we do not fail, it taining the truth or incorrectness of is well. For the race (stadium) is one assertion there made by the qur whole life, the space of which author, I determined to institute being run through, the Lord will an inquiry. This assertion regards grant us, that we may possess that the patronage of a “ venerable mark (or, goal, metam), to which, prelate,” to a Bible Association in at present, our endeavours press London ; which Mr. Norris denies forward at a distance."-Calvin's to have been given, and declares Inst. Book II. ch. vii. sect. 9, 10, (page 480) that his lordship's 12, 13.

s name has been indecently brought forward, DOUBTLESS, without his

consent or privity, to lure the ser To the Editor of the Christian Obserder.

vants of the neighbourhood to the

meeting.” Now, the prima facie I READ with attention the Re- evidence was against Mr. Norris : view of Marsh's Sermons, in a fore for that highly respected diocesan mer Number, particularly your ob- has, in so many places and different servations on St. John, xxi. 15. On ways, shewn his attachment to Bia referring to the Syriac Version ble Institutions, and has been so which I chanced to have by me, I remarkably liberal towards the Paa found that Boderianus had trans. rent Society itself, that I fully exlated the passage, Schemeoun Bar. pected to find both his name and jouna, amas me plusquam ni? his purse regularly tendered, in which rendering, if it be correct, support of the Cavendish Square confirms the more general explava. Bible Association. Accordingly, tion of the question. My reasons on applying to the Secretary, I was for troubling you on this subject gratified by the perusal of an oriure, my own ignorance of Syriac, gipal letter, from Sir THOMAS und the hope that some of your BERNARD, Bart. than whom the correspondents, conversant in that Church of England has not a more language, might have the goodness zealous and sincere friend. I subto state whether the above transla- join a copy of the letter alluded to. tion be strictly literal ; because in such case, I apprehend all doubt « Wimpole Street, Feb. 14, 1814 respecting the true import of the “ Dear Sir, question would be at an end.

“ I have great pleasure in I am, &c. informing you, that the BishoPOF 1,0.2. DURHAM has kindly allowed his

name to be proposed as Patron of

o Ho

the Cavendish Square Bible Asso- a cursory view) I discover in Mr. ciation,

Norris's volume, may possibly “ Upon my informing him, that have prevented the appearance you had said subscriptions would of any reply. It is only within not be wanted, he desired I would these few days past that I have present you, in his name, with 101., perused this self-called demonstratowards incidental expenses; to tion: and though I certainly admit which I beg leave to add five gui. it to be undeserving of any answer neas on my own part, and inclose on account of its intrinsic merit, them both. :

1, nevertheless, am persuaded that “Should the Committee persevere' it has done much mischief, and in their wish, that I would take therefore ought to be exposed in the chair at the meeting, I will its genuine colours. The direct endeavour to obey then, unless charges here brought against some I can induce a more proper person of the Dignitaries and other Clergy to undertake it.

of our Established Church-the . "I cannot conclude this letter scandalous insinuations preferred without expressing my sense of the against the Committee of the Bible obligation which I, in common with Society-the very rude attacks other Christians, owe to you and made on the character and conduct the other gentleinen, for your ex- of various individuals who bave ertions in this most important of advocated this cause--and the all subjects.

effrontery with which the author “ I have the honour to be, &c. repeats allegations, after they have

T. BERNARD.” been officially contradicted -- most “ Joseph Christian, Esq."

surely demand exposure and public

castigation from some able pen. The very fallacious and un

I am, &c. spandid representations which (on

VERAX

REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.

The Evidence and Authority of the it to the perusal of a very large clase

Christian Revelation. By the of sincere inquirers after truth. Rev. THOMAS CHALMERS, Its style is in general plain and Minister of Kilmany. Lon- unadorned, though with occasional don: Cadell and Davis. 1814. touches of vivacity and of eloquence; 12mo. pp. 266.

and though generally correct, beo The valuable little treatise which trays here and there “a minstrel of we here announce to our readers, the Scottish border." contains the substance of the ar- To say that the sentiment and ticle “ Christianity" in the Edin the argument of this little works burgh Encyclopædia, and was shews an acquaintance with the justly deemed by the proprietors models of the North, will convey of that work worthy of a separate an idea favourable or unfavourable publication for general reading. to the reader, according as he may By their permission and advice, have been accustomed to view in it appears in the present distinct the light of safe or unsafe guides and portable form; and we doubt the labours and the principles of the not that its intrinsic excellence, present Scotch school of philoso. together with a considerable degree phers and metaphysicians. It apof novelty upon a subject suffi pears to us to be a very ingenious piently hackneyed, will recommend attempt to apply the principles of the later pbilosophy (we use that and he demands only the same disterm in its best sense) to the evi- position of mind, and the same mode dence and authority of the Christian of argument now universally applied Revelation. It is well known that to other investigations, in order to the basis of the Baconian philoso- effect complete conviction as to phy, to which frequent appeal is the truth and authority of the made in this work, is experiment: Christian Revelation. Christianity, and that its conclusions are drawn like all other sciences, he considers' from the legitimate sources of as having been in times past too actual phenomena, which are the much under the dominion of scioobjects of observation and expe- lists and speculatists. A number rience. This grand principle to of positions had been assured, which we owe much of what is a priori, according to which the valuable in the discoveries of Bacon authority of Revelation had been himself, unquestionably led, by slow weighed and determined. Natural but sure steps, to the immortal and Religion, as it is called, had been immutable principia of Newton, made to take precedency of ReveIn later times, chemistry and the lation; and certain dogmas, obe other sciences have been placed tained no one knows whence, exa upon the same sure basis. And, cept circuitously from the Scrip partly by the operation of the same tures, and by a perversion of them, principles, the theory of the hu- had been laid down as the golden man mind has undergone the most rule of right and wrong—a rule by completo revolution. Des Cartes, which the Scriptures themselves Malebranche, Locke bimself, the were to be tried and sentenced. glory of theorists, and after bim Hence, as might have been exBerkley, witb his giddy and motley pected, inextricable confusion entrain of disciples, have been, on sued. The defenders of religion this subject, brought to the touch- found themselves strangely perstone of “ common sense" and ex- plexed, when called upon to bring perience; and, as to many points, that which is infinite to be meais found wanting." And the New- sured by their own finite rules. ton of the metaphysicians, Dr. Infidels took every possible adReid, bas ereeted a system on tbeis vantage of so dubious and unsteady ruins which bids fair to maintain a ground. The strongest of all its place amongst the lasting modu- causes was endangered by the ments of truth. The system of this weight of its useless armour: and new mode of philosophising has the “ wisdom of God in a mystery" been, in all cases, the same-to was discredited, by having unac. sacrifice the argument a priori for countably become in the hands of tbat a posteriori-to trace princi- too many of its advocates, ples from phenomena-to reason

“Vain wisdom all, and false philosophy.* from what is certain to what is uncertain-to induce general laws To remedy this involved and from particular and well-investi inverted order of things, and to gated facts-above all, to ascer- clear away the rubbish which at tain the limits of knowledge-to once obstructed our view and en reject all self-originating hypothecumbered the foundations of the ses-to classify and arrange the venerable pile, is the noble object results of actual experience-and of our author. In order to this, patiently to await the season of upon the Baconian principle, he happier discovery, where sufficient introduces, in the first instance, data are not yet, afforded for form- the religion of Jesus Christ it. ing our conclusions.

self to tell its own tale.--What is To these principles, then, Mr. Christianity? It is the substance Chalmers now appeals in behalf of of a report said to have been de the firet and oranteet of sciences livorad' hw a certain number af recorded witnesses, and purport- Divine revelation ought to be ing to contain the will of the humbly to learn in its pages what Supreme Being. It is a history of a Divine revelation is. Having ng Jesus Christ, the reputed Son of sufficient grounds even for conGod, and delegated Messenger of jecturing what a Being so mysteriHeaven--a history of his life, bisous, so remote, so highly exalted doctrines, and his iniracles. Now in the majesty of his essence and the first question that presented the perfection of his attributes, itself to the mind of the Baconian would condescend to communicate philosopher, upon the proposal of to so low a creature as man; I have, such a bistory, would not, it is in this case, only to receive with presumed, be, What appearance thankfuluess that which God is. ought such an illustrious Being to here plainly recorded to baye comassumewhat ought to be the municated, and attentively to study purport of his message-a message the contents of this communica. from the skies--a communication tion." from God to man? No: it would. From this very slight statement be directed, first of all, to that of the principles assumed by our which is the plainest, and most open author in bis developement of the to experience and analysis in the evidences of Christianity, it will phenomenon, viz. “ What is the evi. Clearly appear that he lays the dence I have that this is a true main stress of his appeal upon the bịstory? What assurance have I external, or, more properly, the that such a person as Jesus Christ historical evidences. And it will did actually appear; that such mi- appear, indeed, that the novelty racles were wrought ; that such and peculiar feature of his argu, doctrines were delivered? The mentation is found in this, viz. tbe nature of such doctrines, it is very importance of considering the Scrip possible, may be obscure. I havc ture-record merely as a record no example before me of other standing on human testimony, and revelations, to prove whether it will supported by the ordinary tests of be so or not. Much less have I historical truth. This he conapy precedent to supply me with ceives to be the view necessary to any previous knowledge of these be first taken of these Divine doctrines. But I have prece- writings. A reference to their dents innumerable as to the other contents, in the first instance, has, points. No investigation is more in his judgment, a tendency to casily conducted than that of his mingle two kinds of evidence which torical evidence. The plainest and it is of the utmost consequence to most undeniable demand upon my keep asunder. By the mixture of reason is, that I should bring this these two species of evidence, á historical document to the same kind of mystery is thrown over the test to which I bring all other subject, which, on the one hand, documents. And the obvious ad- makes the infidel bold in the pres vantage attending this method of sence of the strongest external evi: proceeding will be, either that I dence; and, on the other, renderg shall discover a fallacy in the evi- the honest disciple timid and scru. dence for the truth and genuine- pulous in the acceptance of the most ness of the document itself, which valid testimony. An objection to will at once entitle me to reject it the contents of the record, or a as a forgery-or I shall be com- prepossession in their favour, will in pelled to acknowledge it as a well- fact produce a similar effect; and founded and veritable record. In will be found to impair the mechan this latter case, what further shall nical advantage with which the I have to do? Why, surely, to weight of historical evidence, per, adopt it as true: and then, instead ceived absolutely, and by itselt of previously determining wbat a acts upon the mind. This mixture

« PreviousContinue »