Page images
PDF
EPUB

power from which there is no es- moted, in dependance upon the blesscape. These attributes of the Al. ing of his Spirit, by the use of such mighty being in array against him, means as have been already alluded he sees not in them that excellence to; by secret meditations, for exwhich really belongs to them, and ample, on the duty and the unspeakwhich the true Christian discerns able privilege of loving him. Let in relation to himself, in that co us, with this view, especially learn venant of mercy in which they are to think of him as a Father, a Remagnified and made honourable; deemer, a Comforter. Let us daily God being therein at once just, sum up the measures of his goodand the justifier of all who believe ness. Let us dwell upon the blessin Christ.

ings connected with our creation, 5. Another, and our concluding preservation, and above all our reinquiry, from the text, will be, demption. Yes these are mercies

this heavenly grace. But here ano- they only require to be more dilither question arises : Do we really gently explored, and more devoutly wish to become partakers of it ? for contemplated. If we love not God, God does not force us to love him it is not because he does not merit by constraint; but he invites and our affections, but because those inclines our will and affections to affections are so bound down to his service. If we have no desire earthly, to perishable, and to sinto love him, we are not to expect ful objects, that they have lost their that love will spring up in our hearts, proper elevation towards those things as it were by miracle, without the which are above, where Christ situse of those means which are or- teth at the right hand of God. Let dained for its birth and nourishment. us then both pray and strive that For there are two things essential they may be raised; and, in addifor the promotion of this and every tion to other means for that purother Christian grace. The first is, pose, let us constantly endeavour the secret power of the Holy Spirit; to live a holy life, in the true faith since it is he only who can melt our and service of Christ, and the exhard hearts, and controul our stub- ercise of all the graces of Christian born wills ; and hence the Apostle charity; for it is in this soil that the in the text prays, that “ the Lord love of God is seen to flourish, wawould direct the hearts" of the tered by the dew of his blessing, Thessalonians « into the love of and bringing forth abundant fruit to God." We need this Divine direc his glory. Amen. tion; and this not only in the commencement of our religious course, but in all its succeeding stages; for Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer. at our best estate our affections are liable to stray to inferior and sinful I am inclined to think, with Bishop objects. And, in using this prayer, Horsley, (see his Posthumous Notes we have the consolation of knowing on the Psalms, Vol. II.) that Merthat it is grounded upon a promise ; rick found the true solution of the for it is declared in Scripture, “ The difficulty alluded to by your corresLord will circumcise thine heart, and pondents in Psalm cv. 28. By an the heart of thy seed, to love the idiom of the oriental languages, the Lord thy God." This Divine di- sense of a passive verb is often exrection given to the heart is the first pressed in Hebrew by a verb active requisite; the second is the diligent in the third person plural, without use of those instruments of spiritual any proper nominative, and having benefit which the Holy Ghost ordi for its object what should be the narily employs in his operations upon subject of the passive verb. Thus, the soul. Love to God may be pro- the expression, in Job xix. 26, “ After they shall have perforated my he endeavoured to maintain the setskin," is equivalent to “ After my tled composure of his countenance skin shall have been perforated." till he could do it no longer: “ And See also Luke xii. 20. The passage the man of God wept !" may therefore be best translated,

E. M. B. “ And his words were not disobeyed:" they were obeyed by the elements, though disobeyed by man.

Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer. C. L.

If ever there was a conclusive re

futation of Socinianism, it is conTothe Editorofthe Christian Observer.

veyed in the new translation and

exposition of St. Paul's Epistles, The sense generally given to Ha- lately published by Mr. Belsham. zael's exclamation, 2 Kings viii. 13, Never surely did a more unfortunate though suitable to the humane feele champion come forward in defence ings of Christians, is quite incon- of an unfortunate cause. The very gruous with those of a heathen war- means which he employs to support rior, who, in Elisha's description, his novel interpretations,-novel, it would see nothing but what appear- is to be hoped, to most readers, ed to him great, and, to use modern though the result of thirty years' language, would cover him with meditation in the writer,-carry abglory, if he could attain power to surdity and contradiction so glaringperform it.

ly on their front, that every sober When Hazael came, by Benha- reader must stand amazed at the dad's order, to consult Elisha relative perverseness of a system built on to his sickness, it is not improba- assumptions so palpably inadmisble that Elisha's visit to Damascussible, and arguments so grossly errowas by Divine direction, with an neous. To follow the writer through intention of performing the com- all his mistakes or misrepresentamission given him long before by tions, would require a notice of Elijah, to anoint Hazael king of every text in dispute between Uni. Syria. (Compare 1 Kings xix. 15, tarians and orthodox * Christians ; with 2 Kings ix. 1, &c.) Hazael and a review of the whole subject, was a wicked aspiring man, and almost as long as Mr. Belsham's probably at that very time disaf- own four volumes of exposition. I fected to his prince, on account of however request the insertion of a some treatment which he judged few remarks; in urging which I gladunworthy of his merits and rank. ly avail myself of an excellent paper When, therefore, Elisha predicted in the last Number of the Quarterly the calamities which he should bring Review, to which I would refer upon Israel, he exclaims, “ But those of your readers who wish for how? by what means ? Thy ser- a more extended notice. vant,-a dog!” (one treated with The doctrine of original sin, and, contempt and neglect!)—“how shall as a necessary consequence, that of he do this great thing ?” It seems an atonement for it, are so plainly to be the language of passion, am- and so fully brought forward in every bition, and resentment, roused by chapter of the Epistles, that it would the latent feeling of some offence, seem impossible even for Socinian which he does not disclose to Elisha.

Julius Bate reads the eleventh * I use the word orthodox as explained verse thus: 6 Elisha settled his by Mr. Belsham himself, and not very courcountenance stedfastly upon him teously, where he says; “ The Epistles (Ilazael) till he was ashamed "

" of Paul, as they are usually interpreted,

are regarded as the strong holds of ortho(abashed), “ sunk under the Pro

- doxy, or rather of that enormous combiphet's eye." ( Critica Hebraea.) But nation of errors which assumes the name." our own version seems preferable : Vol. I. p. vii.

artifice to get rid either of the one palled and disgusted at beholding or the other. Yet this must be in the great Apostle of the Gendone, or the whole Humanitarian tiles thus rebuked and reprimanded scheme falls to the ground. Ac- for ignorance and incapacity, by the cordingly Mr. Belsham has labour- minister of Essex-street chapel.” ed most strenuously to invalidate The following may serve as exthese two obnoxious articles of the amples of the forced and unnatural vulgar creed. It will be sufficient expositions to which the Unitarian to adduce a few brief specimens of is reduced in the plainest passages, the methods which he adopts to gain in order to maintain any resemblance this end; and the meanest under- to consistency. standing will be able to determine Romans viii. 26, 27.--Likewise what must be the merit of a cause the Spirit also helpeth our infirmi. which can be supported only by ties ; for we know not what we should means like these.

pray for as we ought : but the Spirit And, first, the Unitarian exposi- itself maketh intercession for us with tor begins with boldly denying St. groanings which cannot be uttered. Paul himself to be a sound interpreter, And he that searcheth the heart or an accurate reasoner; and this knoweth what is the mind of the Spiin language most unceremonious rit, because he maketh intercession and offensive. To the truth of this for the saints according to the will of charge, let the following instances, God. among innumerable others in Mr. In explaining these two verses, Belsham's annotations, testify. - Mr. Belsham, after mistranslating

" Such is the train of the Apo- TO TVEVA, This Spirit, tells us that stle's reasoning, the defect of which the spirit here intended is the spi. need not be pointed out.Vol. I. rit, before described, of hope, pap. 112.

tience, and resignation, which are “ His argument, if it prove any the leading virtues of the Christian thing, proves, &c.” p. 125. character, and that the Apostle,

« In every light in which I can “ by a figure not unusual to him, view this argument, it appears to personifies the Christian virtues, and me irrelevant and inconclusive." II. represents them as interceding with p. 105.

God, for those who are at a loss to “ Such is the nature of the A- know what to ask themselves : thus postle's argument, which, to say the the spirit is said to help our infirmitruth, is of no great weight." IV. ties." From which we learn, that p. 196.

a man's affections and virtues may “ He has introduced a confusion be divided from himself; that, being of ideas, which makes it difficult to so divided, they intercede for him, unravel the sense.On Rom. v. 12, and that too “ with groanings which

cannot be uttered;" and, moreover, " Had the Apostle been a correct passing to the next clause, that writer, the antithesis would have * God knows the mind” of our stood in this form.” Ibid.

purified affections. A singular spe“ This mode of reasoning is evi- cies of personification is this, in dently inconclusive, and in the prea which we have the affections of the sent enlightened age is altogether disminud made a distinct object from carded." Vol. IV.

the mind, and then a separate and “ The design of the writer is suf- distinct mind attributed to them! ficiently obvious; so likewise is the Can this, and such like interpretaweakness and inconclusiveness of his tions, be called the simple meaning argument." Ibid.

of the words of that Book whose The humble reader of the word pages were written for “ the way. of God, as the Quarterly Reviewer faring man?” justly remarks, may well feel ap- Again, on another passage, after

[ocr errors]

informing us, " that the blood of reveal, explain, and defend: it conChrist purifies the conscience from cludes with overturning every estadead works, and from voluntary blished principle of logic, gramacts of sin; and that, being offered mar, criticism, and common sense. in the heavenly sanctuary, it releas- - Here," remarks the Quarterly Reed the Jews from the sin of trans- viewer, “ is the result of the spirit gressing the old covenant, obtained of self-will and self-sufficiency in the pardon of the transgression," &c. religion-give it time and space Mr. Belsham affirms, “ All that the enough. It has already taught its writer really means is, that the Mo- votary to deny the authority, and saic dispensation being ended by the despise the reasonings, of the very death of Christ, all who believe are men commissioned by God to disnow released from the obligation of seminate the truth. It has already the ceremonial law." If this be not assumed that their knowledge may a near approximation to contradic- be false, their reasoning fallacious, tion, the common principles of lan- and their belief wrong. What shall guage are strangely altered. Again ; be the end of these things? What if the Bible declares that Christ is may be the end of this widely spread worshipped by the angels (Heb.i.6), spirit, as far as worldly interests Mr. Belsham assures us, that “ by are concerned, He only knows who a bold and sublime figure, the former controuls the operations of evil as prophets are summoned to do ho. he sees fit, or allows them to work mage to him." If we read, that “at out their own destruction in the the name of Jesus every knee shall ruin of much that is fair, and lovebow,” we are taught that this means ly, and amiable, for purposes of only, that “ the doctrine of Jesus which even here we may partly unreveals a future judgment." If we derstand the wisdom and the goodfind Christ addressed with, “ Thou, ness. But the present effects of Lord, in the beginning hast laid the this spirit on those who are under foundation of the earth,” &c. we its domination; the pride, the unlearn, that “ the immutability of lovely vanity, and the darker pasGod is here declared, as a pledge sions which follow in its train; these of the immortality of the kingdom are clearly to be understood by all of Christ.” And, as a final re. who will understand; and they must source, when even this bold and li- at once excite the warmest pity for centious style of interpretation will the condition of those who suffer not admit of any but a Trinitarian under their operation, and the most sense in a passage, Mr. Belsham lively dread, lest our condition should calmly decides the stubborn fact to resemble theirs." be “ a figure." By this means he

A TRINITARIAN. invariably and conveniently disposes of Christ's sacrifice; of the Holy Spirit ; of Christ's headship of the Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer. church; the principalities and powers in the heavenly places; Christ's as- THERE seems to be an increasing cension ; Christ's being in the form persuasion among the members of of God, and other kindred facts and our church, of the necessity of somedoctrines.

thing more specific and professional Such then is a brief specimen of than has hitherto been adopted in the means by which modern Unita- the education of candidates for the rianism maintains its peculiar creed, clerical office. While the physician and strives to shake our belief in and the lawyer have their distinct the essential doctrines of Christi. schools for acquiring a knowledge of anity. It begins with trampling on their respective professions, the clerthe authority of an Apostle, in the gy seem to be expected to possess very doctrines he was appointed to an intuitive acquaintance with the

Christ. Obsery. No. 271. 31

theory and practice of their high the laity should be induced to feel, and holy office. The result, as might would be blunted by the suspicion be expected, is, that the majority that their interests were exclusive of clergymen enter upon their sa of, and at variance with, those of cred function with but a very small others. A clergyman should enjoy portion of theological erudition, and the education of a gentleman and a in almost utter unacquaintance with scholar; and there are certainly no the practical duties of a Christian establishments at present existing, minister.

or likely to be formed, in which he These defects have been often no- will meet with such facilities, for obticed, and various remedies for them taining this advantage, as are prehave been suggested. In many in- sented to him by our two universistances the clerical friends and tu. ties. With all their defects, then, tors of young men about to take as to discipline.defects which we orders, endeavour to initiate them can only hope and pray may be in the practical duties of their fu. remedied by those learned bodies ture profession; and of late some themselves the most eligible plan private establishments have been seems to be, that clerical students opened expressly with a view to this should proceed through the usual object, particularly those of Dr. academical career, at the establishBurrow at Epping, and Mr. Kemp- ed seats of learning. This career thorne at Gloucester. But the object is generally completed, or might be is of too important a nature, and too‘so, by the age of twenty-one, or general an interest, to be left to the at most twenty-two; so that a conmanagement and discretion of in- siderable interval usually elapses dividuals, however bighly qualified. before taking orders : and this inSome uniform and public system, terval may be occupied in an excluunder the sanction of authority, sive attention to theological studies should be instituted, in order to ob- and clerical habits. The question tain an adequate cure for the evil. for consideration is, upon what sysA plan of this nature has lately tem, and in what scene, stall those been suggested by the author of a pursuits be followed ? Letter to Mr. Peel : but it appears Strype, in his Memorials of Archto be open to several objections; bishop Cranmer, mentions, that that particularly in making clerical stu- eminent prelate “ hoped that from dents in our universities ab initio à these ruins (the dissolved monasdistinct and exclusive body of per- teries) there would be new founsons. It must, indeed, with grief dations in every cathedral erected be admitted, that the existing dis- to be nurseries of learning, for the cipline of the universities is not use of the whole diocese." And sufficiently favourable to the attain he adds, that the Archbishop “ lament of that elevated character for boured with the King that in these devotion and piety which ought to new foundations," namely, the new distinguish every candidate for the bishoprics and colleges of prebenministry of the Gospel. But the daries, founded in the year 1539, utility, in after-life, of the clerical " there should be readers of Divicandidate, would probably be much nity, Greek, and Hebrew, and studiminished by a complete separation dents trained up in religion and of him, during the period of his aca. learning; from whence, as a nurdemical course, from the habits and sery, the bishops should supply their society of his fellows. He would dioceses with honest and able minislose the advantage of an acquaint- ters; and so every bishop should ance with their habits and modes of have a college of clergymen under thinking; and those feelings of af- his eye, to be preferred according fection towards the clergy and their to their merits.” A plan analogous office which it is highly desirable to this of Cranmer, appears to be

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »