« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
“ general tenor of Scripture," and In justice to Dr. Butler, as well more especially the “recorded ac- as to ourselves, we will now lay a tions of Christ.” And laying down rather lengthened extract before as a principle of interpretation," that our readers. We prefer doing this the precepts of the apostles may, in to giving them a brief abstract of all intricate and disputable cases, be the passage, because we are anxious, best understood by unequivocal and that if the comment should not be direct reference to the actual prac- borne out by the text, they may have tice of our blessed Lord,” he con- the means of rectifying our miscontrives, very conveniently, to free ceptions. himself from the «
« bondage" in which the Epistles of the New Tes
" With regard to the practice of our Satament were not unlikely to hold viour," observes the preacher
, “ we may rehim.
mark, that his first miracle was performed Dr. Butler gives us, at p. 14, a
for an occasion of festivity; we find him
also constantly partaking of social intercatalogue of things and qualities in
course with those abont him, and so far was terdicted in Scripture. The enume- he from recommending or performing any ration is as follows: “ Absurd and acts of ascetic* mortification, that he was extravagant gestures which may at- reproached by the over-righteous sect of tract notice, gloominess or dejection Pharisees as “ a glutton and a wine-bibber, a of countenance, affected professions frieud of publicans and sinuers. We find of humility, severe, censorious, and no particular acts of penance enjoined by uncharitable judgment of our neigh him; no rigorous austerities recommended, bours, strict and literal interpreta
no ceremonious strictness of outward deporttions of metaphorical phraseology in
ment practised by him; on the contrary, HE contradiction to the spirit and gene- than the wisest, and holier than the holies:
who was greater than the greatest, and wiser ral meaning of the context, usurped at the sons of men, lived among them as one spiritual pre-eminence, blind and in- of themselves. Not distinguished from the fatuated zeal for proselytism, mo- truly pious worshipper by unsocial gloom, or roseness,pride and selfishness." Why by uncbaritable censoriousness, or by forbidthe author has collected all these ding severity, or by baughty abstraction; but atrocities into a catalogue, it is diffi. visibly and uniformly distinguished from the
Certain great writers, superstitious or bypocritical Pharisee by raindeed, as poets and botanists, have tional cheerfulness
, by engaging aflability, by their catalogues. Other writers also,
active and unwearied benevolence, carrying as Dante, love to conjure up and hold lis piety onward from words to things, and converse with the most tremendous and by its mild, steady, but unobtrusive and
employing it to regulate every act of life; images. In human nature itself, inostentatious influence, to direct and sancmoreover, there is an occasional love tify the performance of every social duty. of the horrible : this passion may, Thus He threw fresh radiance and fresh enfor the moment, have seized our dearments around the sacred duty of Charity author. Whatever be the solution itself, by uniting the occasional exercise of it of the difficulty, however, we can
with our convivial enjoyments; for he in, discover no rational cause why the structed bis followers, when they prepared a character of our Lord should be feast, to call the blind, the poor, and the contrasted with the fictitious
maimed; and be added, that however unable per
such persons might be to return the kindness sonage compounded of these qualities. Cicero says, indeed, that there is no opinion so absurd which some
• We are no friends to acts of ascetic more philosopher has not been found tification: but we should be glad to know in absurd enough to defend ; but cer
what precise light Dr. Butler views the facts tainly we will venture to affirm, that of our Saviour's fasting forty days in the wilthe name of the writer who defends
derness, and of his retiring to a mountain to
pray; His intimation, that “this kind goeth qualities such as these is not yet not out but by prayer and fasting;" and the upon record, much less has it an rules He lays down (Mai. vi.) to regulate the English termination, or a modern practice of fasting. Does Dr. Butler suppose date.
that fasting does not imply mortification?
cult to say.
they had received, yet they who thus mingled ascribe to their Master, the marked and entire courtesy with bounty, and made things tem. exemption from affected singularity and exporal subservient to things spiritual, should terior austerity, which I consider not only as Beet with a recoin pense at the resurrection shedding additional graces on his personal of the just.
character, but affording additional evidence * May I be permitted to remark, that an for the divinity of his mission." pp. 15–19. sdumitation of this conduct is to be found in the life of him whora Plato describes as the In this passage, there are some most just man he ever knew, and whom we sentences which we cordially conare accustomed to consider as one of the cur with Dr. Butler. We concur with eisest philosophers of the heathen world. bim in admiring the uniform courIncreasing his usefulness without diminishing tesy, the active and unwearied benebis diguity, Socrates associated with the lost volence of our Lord. But when it sheep of the gentile flock; even with cour- is said of him, that “ he lived among tezans, libertines, and sophists; and by expe- the sons of men as one of them dients the most gentle, he endeavoured to
selves,” we cannot but apprehend tectify their errors and correct their irregularities; did not our Master, for the same be that Dr. Butler has formed a very devolent purpose, mingle in familiar converse inadequate conception of the characwith publicans and sinners? Socrates, on the ter both of our blessed Saviour and most serious topics, drew his images fronu sur
of the world which he came to rerounding scenery and the objects of common deem. “ Ye are not of the life; have not the most jadicious and learned world,” says Christ to his disciples, espasitors observed the same beauties in the “ even as I am not of the world. If discourses of Christ? Socrates condemned ye were of the world, the world the mischievous subtleties of those declaimers would love its own; but now the wbo displayed their ingenuity and fondness world hateth you.” And he tells for paradox, in separating the useful from the them not to marvel at this, because honourable ; did not our Lord in the same manner combat the doctrinal refinements of
“ it hated ine before it hated you." those teachers, who not only tore asunder Deferring for the present our furwhat God had joined together in the religion
ther observations on this subject, we of Moses, but set the ritual above the weigh-' would only ask Dr. Butler, whether tier matters of the law, and made of little or he thinks to establish the fact of our no effect some express prohibitions in the Saviour's conformity to the world, Decalogue, especially those which are pointed by the reference he has made to the against perjury and adultery? Socrates, as particular description of guests Cicero justly remarks, brought down philoso- whom he recommended to his folphy from the skies to the bosoms and business lowers as the partners of their conof men in social life; did not our Lord, in a Fet nobler strain of simplicity and sublimity, have been in the days of Christ, we
vivial hours? Whatever it might inculcate the first and second great commandments; and when revealing or enforcing the apprehend that this species of feast. will of his Father, did he not uniformly appeal
ing is not very common in the conto those clear and salutary apprehensions of vivial circles of the present day; right and wrong which the hand of God has and that if it were, those persons deeply engraven upon the tablet of the ha- would be the very last to object to man heart?
it, whom this sermon so vehemently “ Plato, we may farther remark, and Xeno- condemos as fanatics, puritans, aupbon, however dissimilar from each other in stere, unsocial. We would humbly the colour of their style, the choice of their submit to the decision even of Dr. subjects, and the purposes for which they recorded the opinions and actions of Socrates,
Butler, which class of men most yet seem to have been equally impressed with abound in the luxury of feeding the these characteristic qualities to which I have hungry and clothing the naked, adverted, in the daily life of the Grecian sage. of being eyes to the blind and feet In the same manner the Evangelists
, however to the lame, of cheering the afflicted they might differ from one another in the and instructing the ignorant :--the sources of their knowledge, or in the peculiar vilified preachers and professors of temperaments of their own minds, uniformly " evangelical religion," of " vital
Christianity;" or those who, like Dr. sopher of his having laboured to re Butler, delight in holding these men claim the vicious, or to console the up to the scorn and derision of the penitent with the hope of pardon world. He may be able, we doubt For ourselves, we know of no such not, to solve this question, without instances. But what will be his surextending his view beyond the prise to find that the intercourse o limits of Shrewsbury itself.
Socrates with courtezans, as it is A parallel between our Saviour here recorded by Xenophon, was of and Socrates is not a new idea. It the most licentious apd profligate dewas attempted by Rousseau before scription; that part of the enjoyDr. Buyer was born. And how ment of this likeness of the holy much superior, in justness of concep- Jesus, arose from gazing at the extion, as well as in strength and posed person of Theodota, as she was beauty of colouring, is the parallel modesily lending herself as a model of the infidel philosopher to that of to the painters, OISEKEIVIY ETIDEIXVUELY the Christian divine, may be seen by εαυτης οσα καλως εχοι ;
that his turning to our volume for 1810, whole conversation with her is dip. 272, where the former is inserted. rected to the perfecting of this courIn one respect, however, Dr. Butler's cezan in the arts of seduction; and that parallel is perfectly original. He not even one remote hint drops from is, we believe, the first person who him calculated to impress 'her with has attempted to vindicate the con- the dishonourable nature of her purduct of Socrates in associating with suits! And yet Dr. Butler dares (is courtezans, by the example of Christ; it possible not to feel indignant?), or who has attempted to stain the from the University pulpit of Campurity of our Saviour's character, or bridge, not only to hold up the conto degrade the standard of Christian duct of Socrates, in thus associating practice, by so indecent (we had als with courtezans, to the admiration most said profane) a comparison of his audience, but to represent it as We earnestly request that such of a fair parallel to that of our Saviour. our readers as are sufficiently ac- Had a man wished insidiously to quainted with classical literature undermine every sentiment of purity, to institute the examination, would in the minds of the levered youth turn to the eleventh chapter of the who filled St. Mary's on this occathird book of the Memorabilia of sion, could he have pursued a more Xenophon, and we are persuaded 'effectual course than this? These that they will not think our repre- young men would naturally look to hension of Dr. Butler misplaced. The same work to which we have The very title of the chapter, we referred, for an elucidation of Dr. should have thought, would have Butler's estimate of the character of precluded any Christian scholar, our Saviour, and of the liberty which much more any Christian divine, he allows to his followers; and what from the possibility of being guilty would they find? They would find of a profanation so gross and revoli- that, under the name of Christian ing. The title of it is, “ Cum mere- liberty, a licence was given them to trice Theudoia de arte hominum al. indulge in the most polluting interliciendorum disserit" (Socrates, viz.). course. We are not charging Dr. Doubtless many who heard Dr. But- Butler with having actually intendler preach, and many more who have ed this; but the effect is the same as since read his sermon, have taken it if he bad intended it. It certainly is for granted, that, when he ventured much to be lamented, that a man who to recommend the conduct of Socra- possesses so little moral discriminates in associating with courtezang, tion, or, to speak more properly, so as being an adumbration of that of defective a moral taste, as to be our Saviour, he must have alluded capable of confounding the conduct 10 instances in the life of that philo. of Socrates in " his associations witba
Courtezans;” with that of Christ, in that to him Christianity presents no calling sinners of this class to re- needless austerities, nothing burthenpentance, and consoling the weep- some, nothing unamiable. His heart ing penitent; should be charged is cast in the mould of the Gospel. with the tuition of so many of our He loves the holy law and the holy youth, and should also be numbered service of God : and guided by the among the ministers of the Church example and strengthened by the of England*. Her foes are indeed grace of Christ, and animated by the they of her own household. But hope which He has inspired, he is we proceed.
ready, like him, to deny himself, to Dr. Butler, after having stated endure the cross, and to despise the with tolerable correctness the na- shame. But Dr. Butler's words would ture of the liberty which the Chris- imply that the spirit of Christianity rian dispensation imparts, draws is such as will accord with the views from his statement this general in- of mankind at large. What, then, is fereace : “ Hence whatsoever tends meant by the self-denial which is unito confine the operation of the versally enjoined in Scripture; by the Christian religion, to cramp it with crucifixion of the flesh, with all its needless ansterities, to make it bur- affections and lusts; by the mortifythensome or unamiable in the sighting of our members wbich are in of mankind, must be contrary to the the earth; by our even dying to the very spirit of Christianity, and to the world, an attachment to which is rebenevolent designs of its blessed Au- presented as "enmity against God?" thor.” Now to this inference we de- What is meant by the solemn encidedly object, as false, unscriptural, gagement which we all make at the and mischievous. We admit, indeed, baptismal font, to renounce the that to the true Christian; to him who world, the flesh, and the devil? Is has been “renewed in the spirit of there nothing arduous in the perforhis mind,” and become “a new crea- mance of this vow? What, also, is ture;" with whom “old things have meant by the reiterated exhortations passed away, and all things are be- to “ watch and pray,” to “ strive to come new;" who is therefore not enter in at the strait gate,” to “press “of the world,” even as his Master forward towards the mark," with was “pot of the world;" who, no which the New Testament abounds; longer“carnally minded, which it is and by the promises of Divine aid death to be," has attained through which are annexed to these exhorDivine grace that "spiritual mind tations, since “ without Me ye can which is life and peace: we admit do nothing ?” What, we would ask
• If any thing were wanting to justify the Dr. Butler, is meant by all this, if severity of these remarks, it might be found
it was the design of Christ to make in a note at p. 53, where Dr. Butler quotes, his religion such that mankind should with marked approbation, the following pas
fall in love with it, as it were, sage from Erasmus :-“ Vix mihi tempero spontaneously, and at first sight? quin dicam, sancte Socrates, ora pro nobis ;” Let Dr. Butler fairly make the trial: and again, “ At ipse mihi sæpenumero non let him go to the first ten or twenty tempero, quin bene gminer sanctæ animæ Ma- nien he can think of, who are in the ronis ac Flacci.” To the holy Socrates we
babit, after the example of Socrates, have already adverted. But to apply the and, as he allows it to be profanely term holy to Horace, is a prostitution of it, of which we apprebend that no man could be implied, after the example of a guilig whose moral taste had been formed by greater than Socrates, of associatthe New Testament. It will be a consolation ing with courtezans :” let him preach to the “ modern Puritan” to find, that the the Gospel to theni;—“Repent and accusation brought against him as over-righ- be converted ;--flee youthful lusts ; -Leous, is preferred by one who appears to whoremongers and adulterers God contemplate with admiration the purity of will judge ;--cleanse your hands and Ногасе,
purify your hearts, ye sinners ;--for, know, that he who even looketh on a press terror", and encourage confidence, tliat woman to lust after her hath already does not awaken love and soften apprehencommitted adultery with her in his sion, that does not enkindle gratitude and heart, and that no onclean person enliven hope t. I am indebted, he might shall inherit the kingdom of God:- say, to God, for life and being, in the midst
of a world stored with every thing adapted therefore tarn from your evil ways,
to the wants and happiness of my nature, that your souls may live, and ac
and for a rule of life tending as well to se. cept the pardon, the grace, the
cure that happiness as to exalt my gratifipeace of the Gospel."- How does cation in the enjoyment of all the temporal he suppose they would relish such blessings around me.” pp. 23, 24. a doctrine? Would they or would The author here supposes a heathey not deem the preacher needless- then to be told, that the “first man, ly austere, and his injunctions bnr- having transgressed a positive comtbensome and unamiable? Will Dr. mand of God, was subjected thereby to
Butler deny, that to preach thus a curse inflicting death and multiplied would be to preach the Gospel? Or, sorrows on himself and his posteriallowing this, will be deny that such ty;" and to be told also, that “ by preaching would meet with much the Christian dispensation, this curse contrariety in the hearts and lives was removed in all its fatal conseof a great part of our population, quences ;” and he then asks “wheand especially of our youth? And ther the heathen would not acknowif so, has Dr. Butler, or has he not, ledge the benevolence of this dispenbeen guilty, in the representation sation?” We answer, Perhaps not, for which, in this sermon, he has given he might, like many others, to whom of Christianity, of misleading those the moral law of God is unpalatable, whom he is especially bound to have condemned, first, the issuing guide into all truth? We think he such a law, and, secondly, the inhas; and in this opinion we are con- fliction of its penalties. But, in our firmed by what follows:
view, the statement of the author “Let us suppose a sensible heathen were
would afford the beathen a very told that the first man having transgressed a inadequate conception of the evils positive command of God, was subjected consequent upon the fall. Were thereby to a curse inflicting death and “death and multiplied sorrows” the multiplied sorrows on himself and his pos- only consequences of that event? Did terity. Let him then be told, that by the no moral evils result from it; no deChristian dispensation this curse was re- pravation of the nature of man? moved in all its fatal consequences, and Even when he would do good, was happiners and immortality restored to man. Would he not immediately perceive and him? Did he not reduce himself by
not evil (henceforth) present with acknowledge the benevolence of this dispen- bis disobedience to a state in which sation? Let him, while this natural impression is fresh and vivid, be farther made his bias and determination, as it acquainted with the preceptse of that dis- were, was to what is bad? -Neither pensation. Would he not say, in all that would the second clause of the auI learn and liear on this subject, I find new thor's instruction to the heathen bei confirmations of the benevolence of God. more accurate. Does Christianity The new law which he has given, contains remove all the “multiplied sorrows" nothing which does not harmonize with the of man? It provides, indeed, a balm great act of mercy and goodness from which
for all. It weighs them down, as it it originated; nothing that does not sup
Nothing that does not suppress terror!"
Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, pre* For example, “ Love your enemies, bless pared for the devil and his angels-where them that curse you," " deny yourselves, their worm dieth not, and their fire is not " take up your cross," " crucify the flesh," quenched." 's love not the world, neither the things that + " Many will say to me in that day, are in the world,” " cut off the right hand, Lord, Lord," &c.—" and then will I profess, pluck out the right eye,” &c. &c. &c. ento them, I rever knew you," &e.