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The statement of Dr. E. implies, that the condition of man was deteriorated by the covenant which God was pleased to make with him. In his first state he was preserved by divine influence, and secured from any wrong operations of his faculties; but, in his second state, he was deprived of that divine influence, and thus exposed to the danger of apostacy. This is not the representation to which we have been accustomed. In our opinion the condition of Adam was improved by the covenant; so that it became less perilous than it would have been, if he had been left under operation of the law in its simple form. In this case he would have been liable to fall in various ways, and no limit would have been set to the time of his trial. But when the covenant was established with him, it is believed that the term of trial was fixed, and probably his danger was circumscribed, so as to be confined to that single point to which the prohibition relative to a particular fruit referred. Had he guarded against this act of disobedience, divine influence would perhaps have preserved him from all other sins.
The statement we have made of Adam's power, is consistent even with the peculiar signification attributed by Dr. E. to the terms “ MENTAL Power or ability to do any action.” He contends that the word power includes the motive, as well as the faculty; and that a man has the power of reading, while he is reading; but so soon as he ceases to read, he ceases to have the power, p. 297. We do not complain of any obscurity in the passage to which we refer; for the author has made his meaning plain enough. But we cannot forbear to say, that this is assigning a meaning to the term power, widely different from what we have been accustomed to give it, and widely different from what is usually given to it. The power to do an action is one thing; the exercise of that power another thing; and a motive to exercise that power a third thing. A man may possess the power, when he does not exercise it; he may have a motive to exercise that power presented to his mind, when he chooses to resist its influence; or he may yield to the influence of the motive, and exercise his power.
But admitting for a moment this signification given by the author to the term power, yet while Adam continued to obey the law of God, he doubtless had the power of obeying; and, as long as he actually did obey the law, he actually did preserve himself in a state of purity and felicity; and consequently was able thus to preserve himself. This power it is true, he lost by his apostacy; but while he obeved he retained it; and so long as he retained it, he was able to preserve himself in a state of purity and felicity. This is not pleading for man's independence on God; he was entirely dependent on his Creator for every thing; he possessed nothing which he did not receive from infinite munificence. We only plead in favour of man's glorious endowments in his primitive state; we only affirm that man was created in God's image and likeness.
“We cannot repent for Adain's sin, but we may hate it,” says Dr. E., p. 307. Why can we not repent on account of this sin, as well as hate it? Why may not sinners, who virtually approve of it by their misconduct, change their mind and disapprove of it? Why may we not lament Adam's apostacy, and be sorry that he has ruined the world by his disobedience? What is this but repentance? When Daniel fasted and prayed; when he humbled himself before God, and confessed the sins of his people and their rulers, did he not repent? was he not sincerely sorry on account of them ?
We cordially approve of the view Dr. E. has given of the nature and extent of sin.
“Some are pleased to define sinfulness, in such a manner as to exclude every thing but actual transgressions. Others make it consist wholly in a wrong act of the will. We have no objection to their definition but this, that it is not consonant to the language of the Bible. If they choose to affirm that nothing shall be called sisful, but an actual volition which is contrary to the law of God, we affirm, that many things are offensive to God and destructive to the souls of men, which they do not allow to be sinful. The thoughts of the wicked are an abomination to the Lord.' Prov. xv, 26. We affirm that sin is any transgression of the law,' and it is also “any want of conformity unto' the revealed will of Heaven. A moral defect, a neglect of duty, an innate depravity, an injurious thought, we denominate sinful. Any thing in the nature of a moral agent which separates him from the holy God, any action which is forbidden, any moral impurity, or deficiency, is represented by the same general word. Sin is taken in this extensive sense for all sinfulness in the declaration that by one man sin entered into the world;' for the apostle did not intend to convey merely the truth, that positive crimes have entered into the world by one man; but that through Adam every moral evil had entered; and especially that depra. vity of man which is the cause of actual transgression. At any rate, we have as good a right to define the meaning of the words which we use as other teachers, and we wish to be understood to assert that by one man entered into the world all the moral evil, and its consequences; which subsist in the family of Adam. David says, “in sin did my mother conceive me;' in which place the word sin is applied to a fallen state, and not to a moral action. Ps. li. 5. Solomon says, the thought of foolishness is sin. Prov. xxiv. 9. Not to perform 3 vow which is lawful in itself; and not to believe in Jesus Christ, is sis. Deul. xxiii. 21. and John xvi. 9. Indeed the neglect of any duty is as much sin, as the violation of any positive precept; and all wickedness, impurity of thought, irregularity of desire, is as much sin as a rebellious operation of the will." P. 301.
On the whole, we consider this Synopsis as a valuable performance. We hope that many may read it, and that those who read it may be edified and built up in holy faith and Christian obedience.
J. J. J.
FOR TUE PRESBYTERIAN MAGAZINE.
Sermons preached in the Parish Church of High Wycombe, Bucks.
By the Rev. Charles Bradley, Curate of High Wycombe. (First American, from the fourth London Edition.) Philadelphia: published by William W. Woodward, No. 52, South Second street. (Two volumes in one.) 1822.-pp. 603.
This volume, we have no hesitation in saying, is a very respectable production; it bears the impress of a clear discerning head, and of a pious Christian heart; it does great credit, therefore, we think, to the author who composed it.
It opens, like many British productions, with an address dedicatory. This address is presented to the right honourable, the earl of Liverpool. There is nothing in this dedication very fulsome; it merely compliments his lordship on the subject of his being a Christian, and a professed friend of the English church. We humbly hope, that the Christianity of the earl of Liverpool is well founded, and that the notice which Mr. Bradley has thus taken of it, is not undeserved.
This dedication is followed by a short preface, in which our author endeavours to make a modest apology for presenting his production to the notice of the public. He states, as a pallia. tion of the faults of this volume, that the sermons composing it were not originally written with a view to publication; and that, had it not been to gratify the wishes of his friends, they had not probably yet been issued into the world. He deems this statement necessary, to soften the severity of criticism, and obtain for his work an indulgent reception.
For the same purpose, we conceive, he deems it necessary to state, that he is not conscious of any thing like plagiarism, except in one instance : his words on this subject are; “ Except in the third sermon, a few thoughts in which were suggested by a work printed in the seventeenth century, the author is not conscious of having been materially indebted to any writer ; and trusts that these sermons will not be found less original, than many of those which are prepared for the pulpit or the press."
We can have no objection to an author thus writing a few sentences, by way of introduction, to endeavour to bring as favourably as possible to the notice of the public a literary child, respecting whose future welfare and success in the world, he must necessarily feel some degree of solicitude ; we grant, however, that such introductory notices are not easily written, without transgressing the bounds of propriety, and leading the author to exhibit something like vanity and egotism. Mr. B., we think, has drawn his preface with considerable circumspection : whilst he allows that his production has faults, which more time and Vol. II.- Presb. Mag.
leisure would have enabled him in some degree to correct, he seems, at the same time, to be conscious that it has so much merit blended with these faults, that it is not altogether undeserving of a portion of public attention.
We acquiesce heartily in the opinion which our author expresses of his own work; we admit that it has some of those imperfections incident to all human productions, yet, we must say, that its merits appear to us to outweigh, very far, all its faults. We therefore now proceed, with no small degree of satisfaction, to solicit the respectful attention of our readers to the work itself.
We must be excused, however, if, on account of our limits, we should not give a very full exhibition of all the topics discussed in this volume. Our limits oblige us to be very curtailed in our abridgment.
Our author appears to have given very little attention to the affinity of the subjects, in the arrangement and collocation of his sermons in the volume. It would seem that he has disposed them more agreeably to the times and occasions on which they were delivered, at first, to his hearers, than to any resemblance or affinity, which the subjects, which they are intended to illustrate and enforce, would appear to bear to each other. In this matter Mr. B. was entirely at liberty to follow his own taste and judgment; but still we cannot help remarking, that regard to the subjects of sermons, in the arrangement of them in a volume, ought not to be entirely neglected. We shall, however, in our review, take up the sermons as their author has thought proper to present them.
The first sermon, in the collection, is styled, “The Worshippers in the Heavenly Temple :” the text is, Rev. vii. 14, 15.
The object of this sermon is to present to the people of God a faint description of the situation, employment, and comfort, of the saints in heaven, with a view to animate and stimulate them, while on earth, to be fervent and diligent in serving and glorifying their God. The spirits of the just made perfect
Creator and Redeemer day and night in heaven; and, therefore, if we would be prepared for such a constant and unceasing service, we must carefully accustom ourselves to such a service here below, that we may acquire the habits and dispositions of faithful servants, and thus be fitted for the duties and employments of the temple above. If then we have in part acquired, and are still, by the aid of the Holy Spirit, acquiring such heavenly habits and tempers, the subject of this sermon is calculated to afford us the most happy prospects, and the most joyful consolations. But, that we may not deceive ourselves relative to this matter, our author earnestly urges upon us, from the text, the duty of serious self-examination. His words, on
this point, deserve to be deeply pondered : “But the voice of consolation is not the only language that the Holy Spirit addresses to us in the text. There is, lastly, a loud call to selfexamination. This great multitude, brethren, may stand before the throne of God, and yet we may not be included in their number. The gates of this heavenly temple may be opened to ten thousand times ten thousand ransomed sinners, and yet closed against us. There is another and very different house, in which we may be forced to seek an everlasting home. There is the dwelling place of Satan in eternity, as well as the temple of the living God. To which of these mansions then are we hastening? We must soon be lodged forever in one or other of them, which will be our habitation? Shall we be the ministering priests of Satan or of God ?”—P. 22.
The second sermon is designated,—“The Worship and Privileges of the Heavenly Temple:” text Rev. vii. 15, 16, 17.
The practical purpose of this discourse is very much the same as that of the first. It portrays, in a scriptural manner, the nature of that worship which saints present in heaven to their God, and the other happy privileges which in this exalted habitation they enjoy : the object of this exhibition of the worship and privileges of heaven, is to excite us who are upon the earth to employ ourselves in the worship of our Creator; that the employment of heaven, when we leave this terrestrial scene, may be found agreeable and suitable to our taste. If our minds be thus fitted for the enjoyments of heaven, death will be to us rather an object of desire than aversion: “How (p. 40.) desirable is death to the spiritual and heavenly minded worshipper of God! The temple we have been contemplating, with all its holy services and glorious privileges, is very near us; distant as that world may seem, on which its foundations stand, the hand of death can in a moment place us in its courts, and surround us with its splendours. Who, then, that loves the worship of the Lord, does not wish to die, that he may go and appear in this house before his God? Our souls long for the enjoyment of his presence, even in his earthly temples; early have we sought him there, and desired above all things to see his power and his glory, as his saints have seen them in his sanctuary. Shall we then be unwilling to leave this world of tribulation and of sin, that we may stand before the throne of God, serve him day and night in his temple, and have God continually dwelling among us, and the Lamb feeding us? Have we no desire to exchange the imperfect and polluted worship of earth, for the pure services and glorious privileges of heaven? Have we no wish to be where Abraham and Paul are worshipping? Where David is singing? Have we no longings after the society of the friends we loved on earth, and who are waiting for us to join their