Page images
PDF
EPUB

"*

I answer that it is true, confidence is not the essential form of any intellectual virtue ; that is, of a virtue purely intellectual.

But I deny that faith is a virtue purely intellectual. It is objected 3. etc. etc.

Here then we find Gomar, and Polanus, (to specify no other instances,) personally engaged in the very controversy that is now considered as separating Arminians and Calvinists. And we find Gomar also, (who is, according to the standard of Turretin a much more orthodox Calvinist than Calvin himself,) taking that side of the question which is now repudiated as Arminian. The very arguments that Gomar advances, Po

* Essentialis forma salvicae fidei, est πληροφορία αδιάκριτος, id est plena ac certa persuasio, dubitationis ac disceptationis expers, de veracitate, fidelilate, potentia, et misericordia Dei, ac proinde de reconciliatione nostri cum Deo per Christum, Luc. 1: 37. Rom. 4: 21. Collos. 2: 2. Heb. 10: 22, and 11:

19, quae etiam dicitur nenolonous, persuasio, Rom. 8: 38. 2 Cor. 3: 4. Eph. 3: 12, et ûnbotaois, Heb. 11:1. Quocirca fides salvifica non est nuda notitia seu cognitio veritatis credendae, sed etiam firma assensio, sed etiam ningopopia seu fiducia misericordiae Dei et salutis aeternae per et propter Christum. Id manifestum est ex sequentibus argumentis: 1. Quia fides salvifica est ninpopopia, id est, plena persuasio, Deum quod promisit, posse etiam efficere. Sic enim describitur fides Abrahami Roman. 4: 21, quod plene persuasum habuerit, Deum quod promiserat posse etiam efficere : et fides Sarae Heb. 11: 11, quod fidelem esse duxerit eum promiserat: autem persuasio de potentia Dei in praestandis promissis, non est tantum notitia, sed firma ac indubitata fiducia. 2. Quia fides salvifica est intima acquiescentia in divina benevolentia ac gratia. OBJICITUR 1. Effectum fidei salvificae non est essentialis forma ejus. Fiducia est effectum fidei salvificae. Ergo non est essentialis forma fidei salvificae. Assumptio probatur testimonio Pauli Ephes. 3. 12. In quo habemus libertatem et auditum cum fiducia per fidem in ipsum. · Resp. Assumptio est distinguenda, quia est ainbigua. Nam fiducia in ea, ut in dicto Pauli allegato, est persuasio curia de exauditione precum in nomine et fide Christi factarum: Sed fiducia quae est essentialis forma fidei salvificae est persuasio certissima, de veracitate, fidelitate, potentiae, ac misericordia Dei, et reconciliatione nostri cum Deo per Christum. Fiducia exauditionis recte dicitur esse effectum fidei. OBJICITUR 2. Nullius virtutis intellectualis, forma essentialis est fiducia : Fides est virtus intellectualis : Ergo fidei forma essentialis non est fiducia. Resp. Nullius virtutis, intellectualis, nimirum tantum intellectualis, tantum in intellectu sitae, forma essentialis est fiducia. At fidem esse virtutem tadtuin intellectualemn, negatur: quia totius anima est perfectio. OBJICITUR 3. Quicquid, etc.” Vide Syntag. Chris. Theol. Lib. IX.

[ocr errors]

cap. 6.

lanus disposes of; and the very arguments that Polanus urges, Gomar responds to: each considers himself in the right; and yet each esteems his brother as a sound orthodox Calvinist.

We might show by other quotations that. Dr. Gomar has completely set aside those very objections which are now urged against the view which he takes of Rom. 4: 3, or Gen. 15: 6. But we forbear. The length of our discussion admonishes us to hasten to the concluding topic announced in the question at the head of this article.*

ARTICLE VIII.

The PhilosOPHY OF ECCLESIASTES.

Translated from the German MS. of Dr. I. Nordheimer, Prof. in the University of the city

of New York, by Wm. W. Turner; and revised by the Author.

Rectum iter quod sero cognovit lassusque errando aliis monstrat."

Seneca. The book Koheleth, or as it is more frequently denominated Ecclesiastes, has already been made the subject of laborious inquiries by many learned men, stimulated thereto by the hope of being enabled to illumine the obscurity of its style and to extract the deep spiritual meaning which it seems to contain. As each writer regarded it from his own peculiar point of view, one taking.it for one thing and one for another, it is easy to imagine that its fortunes must have been extremely various at various times. And thus in fact it was : for, in consequence of the apparently contradictory nature of its contents, it has been looked upon both as the gloomy imaginings of a melancholy misanthrope, and as the licentious suggestions of an Epicurean profligate ; as the disputation of a wavering skeptic, and as a justification of God's providence in ruling the world.

• We.regret the necessity of again postponing the remaining section of this article. It will be concluded in the next number of the Repository.- Ep.

† Written in the year 1833, as an Introduction to a new translation of Ecclesiastes accompanied with critical and philological notes, which may appear in future Nos. of this periodical.

[ocr errors]

Some again, with the view of freeing it from objections to which it has appeared to them obnoxious, have even gone so far as to convert it into a dialogue in which the preacher is made to speak as a learner, the bold tone of whose language is rebuked and softened down by the calm and soothing voice of his instructor. Another natural consequence of the variety of lights in which it has been viewed, is that it has met by turns with both advocates and opposers, and its tendency been regarded as beneficial or injurious accordingly.

It is not at present the writer's intention to enter into a particular enumeration and refutation of the numerous theories that . have been broached and defended with greater or less ability

by others, but simply to lay before the public, in addition to what has already been advanced, his own ideas with regard to this portion of Holy Writ. In order to combine the requisite degree of brevity with a satisfactory illustration of his positions, he will confine himself in his exhibition of the Philosophy of Ecclesiastes to a consideration of the two following questions :

First, To what description of work does the book belong ?
And Secondly, What is its object, and what are its contents ?

I. In reply to the first of these queries, when we consider the form, the course of ideas, and the contents of the work, we feel no hesitation in affirming it to be a philosophic didactic poem, whose design is to ascertain and exbibit the obligations of man to himself, to his fellow-man, and to God. This proposition having been advanced, we are now under the necessity of examining by the rules of art 'its author's style and train of thought; these not unfrequently appear obscure and enigmatic, on account of the apparent want of connection occasioned by the rapidity of his transitions from one idea to another, now proving and lamenting, now exhorting and encouraging.

The writer of a philosophic didactic poem, whose principal object must be the development of moral truths, should seek to avoid the two extremes of wandering too far into the realms of poesy, or of restraining himself too strictly within philosophic bounds. His style should not be too constantly poetic, nor ever be allowed to become too animated, too lyric, or too pathetic ; on the contrary, he should observe a proper moderation in the employment of ornaments, images, and allegories; and frequently vary the tone of his discourse. Again, he should not deliver his philosophic truths in scholastic phraseology encumbered with proofs and explanations, or observe a too pre

cise order of arrangement; but he should continually refer to life and daily experience, never becoming cold and formal, but moving and convincing by his warmth and earnestness.* If we now test by these precepts the work before us, we shall find that it conforms to them in every essential particular; and thus not only will its obscurities of diction be explained, but its enigmatic train of thought will likewise no longer present such a disconnected appearance.

Its style must not be too constantly poetical or possess too much animation.

How sublime and powerful, how penetrating and convincing, yet how brief and simple are the descriptions and even the complaints of the composition before us in comparison with those of any other sacred poems of the East ! Let us for the sake of illustration compare a passage containing the development of a single idea with a corresponding one from that precious relic of oriental antiquity, the magnificent production of Job. In the following few words the preacher expresses with forcible brevity that which Job occupies a chapter in portraying with a profusion of illustration and poetic ornament.

" I returned, and beheld all the oppressions that are committed under the sun. I saw the tears of the oppressed, and they had no comforter ; bowed were they by the violent hand of their oppressors, and they had no comforter.

Then praised I the dead because they are already dead, rather than the living because they are yet alive.”—Eccl. c. 4. v. 1, 2. And again,

“ All this bave I observed during my vain existence : righteous: persons perishing in their righteousness, and wicked ones going on long in their wickedness.”—Eccl. c. 7. v. 15.

Here the poet has depicted the sufferings of the innocent and the triumphs of the wicked with a few powerful strokes. In the hands of Job the former part of the subject is wrought into the following highly finished picture :

“Why, since destinies are not hidden from the Almighty,

Do not his friends behold bis days of punishment ? The wicked remove boundaries;

They carry off flocks, and feed them for their own: They drive away the ass of the fatherless ;

The widow's ox they take for a pledge: They thrust the needy from the path ;

* See Eschenberg's Theorie der schönen Wissenschaften.

The poor of the earth are compelled to hide together.
Behold, like wild asses, they flee into the wilderness ;
By their labor they seek in the desert food for themselves,

bread for their children :
"They cut provender for themselves in the field ;

And they glean the vineyard of the wicked :
Naked, they pass the night without clothing;

And have no covering from the cold :
They are wet with rain from the mountains,
And lie without shelter in the rocks."

Job c. 24. v. 148.
The prosperity of the wicked he thus describes :

Why do the wicked flourish ?

Why grow they old, and even increase in strength ?
. Their seed is established around about them,

And their offspring before their eyes :
Their houses are free from alarm ;

And the rod of God is not laid upon them :.
Their bull impregnates, and does not fail ;

Their cow brings forth, and does not miscarry :
They send out their little ones like sheep;

And their children dance;
They shout to the timbrel and harp,
And rejoice at the sound of the flute."

Job c. 21. v. 7-12. What an essential difference here presents itself in the manner of the two writers. One in the sententious - style of a philosopher expresses the conviction as the result of his experience, that innocence suffers, while vice triumphs. The other in a strain of sad inspiration pursues the subject through all its ramifications, and presents a highly wrought picture to the reader's mind. The same difference is perceptible between the two poets in their modes of giving utterance to the firm persuasion, that with the innocent sufferer all will at length be well, while punishment cannot fail in the end to overtake the prosperous sinner. The Preacher says:

Although the sinner commit wickedness a hundred times, and carry it on long; still I know that it shall be well with those who fear God, because they fear him.

But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are like a shadow ; because he does not fear God."

Eccl. c. 8. v. 12, 13.

[ocr errors]
« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »