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request, he was about taking his departure, wheu the general expressed a desire to cultivate a further acquaintance, requesting him to call whenever it might be convenient; at the same time giving orders, that Benezet in future should be admitted without ceremony. p. 144.
In person Benezet was small, and far from handsome,' but his features were strong and interesting,' and his countenance beamed with benignant animation.' The prevailing quality of his mind was humility, a Christian virtue which he always exemplified, and which he delighted to recommend. His character in this respect was beautifully illustrated by an anecdote which closes the volume, and with which we shall close this article, merely adding that this exalted individual died May 3, 1784, at the age of 71.
With feelings tending to enthusiastic eulogy, his biographer pauses in the recollection of a fact, communicated by one of the most intimate surviving friends of this amiable and excellent man. He disapproved of the often over-rated testimonies which were recorded of the dead, and requested the venerable gentleman alluded to, to use his exertions if he should survive him, to prevent any posthumous memorial concerning him, should his friends manifest a disposition to offer such a tribute of affection to his memory; thus adding to the injunction: "But if they will not regard my desire, they may say:-ANTHONY BENEZET was a poor creature, and, through Divine favour, was enabled to know it."" pp. 151, 2.
Art. VII. A Popular Inquiry into the Scripture Doctrine concerning the Person of Christ, with Notes and Illustrations. By the Rev. John Wilson, A. M. Hexham, Author of Popular Reflections on the Progress of the Principles of Toleration. 8vo. pp. 190. Price 5s. 6d. 1817.
IT T is of great importance to every person engaged in the pursuit of truth, that the questions to which a sense of duty impels his attention, be divested of all extraneous matter, and that the evidence offered for the purpose of proving them, be separated from all testimony insufficient to induce satisfaction with its depositions on the agitated subjects. We are glad to perceive the increasing determination to regulate theological controversy on this principle. It is now no longer reckoned an affair of consequence, to ascertain what was the opinion of writers who lived a thousand or fifteen hundred years ago, on particular points of religious difference. The only conviction which is now sought, is that which a competent authority must supply, and nothing is now considered as a competent authority which is human in its origin. Only a Divine authority can compel in religion. Whatever, therefore, might be the sentiments of the Fathers, whatever Clemens, or Chrysostom, or Augustine, might believe, no argument
founded on their credenda, can induce the persuasion, that as they believer, so we ought to believe. The New Testament is exclusively the depository of Christ's doctrine, and of the evidence on which submission to his authority is demanded, and ought therefore exclusively to engage the attention, and bound the researches of those persons who, as Christians, wish to resolve the question, What is truth? We do not by this limitation cut off the inquirer, from the investigation of the Old Testament, because on examining the New, he will find the authority of its Author directing his investigation to its contents. The asserters and opponents of the evangelical doctrines, denying all other authority as incompetent to settle the differences between them, agree to submit to the authority of the New Testament, and respectively profess to investigate the meaning of its terms and the design of its communications. Let this practice be under the influence of a devotional spirit, and the results cannot fail of being most beneficial in establishing the Scriptural faith. Mr. Wilson very judiciously remarks, that
In a mind that is deeply impressed with the importance of the spiritual blessings which have been brought to mankind by Jesus Christ, it must be allowed to be at once a natural and an amiable wish, to think of him with as much veneration, and clothe him with as much dignity, as the most elevated representations of the Scriptures will possibly authorize. But although this in itself is an amiable wish, it may lead into error, if not duly regulated. It may induce us to rest satisfied with an inferior degree of evidence in support of an agreeable sentiment, to what we should require in vindication of the genuineness, the authenticity, or meaning of any other writing. The advocates for the essential divinity of the Saviour, it must be confessed, have, in a few instances, fallen into this error-advanced arguments, either weak in themselves, or inapplicable to the subject,-and marshalled texts in defence of their opinion, which their opponents have maintained, with considerable success, to he in these cases either interpolated, or mutilated, or figurative.'
In conformity with these sentiments, the Author professes, not to aim at adducing and illustrating every Scripture proof that has been or may be advanced, but to state and examine those which appear to him to be the strongest, and of themselves sufficient to determine the doctrine of Scripture concerning our Saviour's divinity. This pledge, we are of opinion, is not redeemed by Mr. Wilson, who appears to us to have fallen into the very practice which he reprehends. The Apostle Paul does not inform us, (Heb. iv. 1, 2.) as Mr. Wilson asserts, p. 68, that the Gospel-by which he means the glad tidings of man's 'salvation from the power and the consequences of sin,-was
preached to those who lived under the Old Testament, as well
as to those who are under the new dispensation.' We should
have expected from Mr. W. a correct interpretation of the passage, instead of which he suffers himself to be misled by the use of the word Gospel in the common version. The Apostle is merely referring to the case of the ancient Israelites, who could C not enter' into Canaan' because of unbelief,' from whose criminal and fatal disobedience he takes occasion to admonish Christian believers to preserve a salutary fear lest they, by similar behaviour, should be excluded from heaven. For,' he remarks, 'to us also belongs the promise of entering into a state of rest.' For we also have received the good tidings,' xal yάp loμEY εὐηγγελισμένοι. The biheeste (promise) of entryng in to his "reste-is teld also to us'. Wickliffe. The meaning of the passage is very obvious; we are surprised that Mr. Wilson should not have discerned it. We certainly cannot admit Prov. viii. 22-32, to be one of the strongest proof passages,' sufficient of itself to determine the doctrine of Scripture concerning the divinity of Christ.' We are aware that it has by many writers been cited for the purpose; but how respectable soever those writers may be, we cannot consent that this passage should be used as they have used it. The whole chapter evidently relates to the same subject; it is, therefore, unfair to detach the 22nd and following verses from the preceding, with which they unquestionably are most closely connected. The Translators of the Common Version evidently consider the whole chapter as a description of wisdom. Isaiah lix. 16. Job xxxiii. 24, do not appear to us to support Mr. Wilson's averment (p. 105.) that we are expressly informed, that the highest orders of spiritual beings were at a loss to conceive in what manner fallen man could be saved from the consequences of sin, consistently with "the holiness of God and the honour of his government. Of the latter passage he has given an incorrect translation. Nor do we think that Exod. xx. 22. Neh. ix. 27, 28. (p. 110.) are passages at all to his purpose; which is the case with several other quotations and references.
In the Appendix, p. 176, the following remark occurs:
1 John iii. 16. "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us."
The words in italics are left out by Griesbach, because not supported by the best and most ancient authorities.'
Now, so far is this from being the fact, that the words in Italics do not even exist in the received text; they could not therefore be left out by Griesbach. Griesbach, in his note, cites a few authorities for the addition of the reading ToV SEO to the
Mr. Wilson, Appendix, p. 175, on the reading of Acts xx. 28, remarks, that the received text follows the vulgate and
some manuscripts of comparatively recent date." The reading of the received text ev is supported by the Codex Vaticanus B. 1209, which Mr. Wilson describes as a very ancient manu• script, and of high authority.'
The Codex Beze, not containing the Epistles of the New Testament, cannot of course be cited as evidence of the reading Eph. iii. 9, as Mr. Wilson's note (p. 176) on the passage imports.
We wish we could have avoided noticing the faults of this book; but we feel it to be a service to the Author, as well as a part of our duty to the public, to point them out. A work of such brevity, and so comprehensive in its plan, ought to be both select and accurate in the statements and arguments which it includes.
If the New Testament be our proper guide in the adoption of religious tenets, we are to satisfy ourselves with the reception of its testimony in the simplest form, because we are not, while employed in ascertaining its design, engaged in the investigation of opinions, but are limited in our concern with its details to the single object of understanding its meaning as an authoritative communication. On the credence, therefore, of passages, which no various readings perplex, and which no criticism can invalidate, we believe the Saviour of men to be truly and properly Divine, and the death of the cross' to be a real propitiation for sin. We feel the force of that appeal, Was Paul "crucified for you?" as indicating in the fullest manner that the death of Christ bears a relation to our interests which no other death can bear; with it alone is connected the remission of our sins, and our peace with God as its unspeakably great and rich effect. We feel the strongest and the strangest surprise, that persons with the New Testament before them, should declare that all the purposes of that revelation which it contains, are, on its own evidence, accomplished, in the contemplation and regard due to Christ as an instructer and an example. Were these all that our relation to him involves, it is to us the most unaccountable of all moral phenomena, that the descriptions of his person, of his character, and of the purpose of his manifestation to the world, should be in a style so remote from that which the business of teaching requires, so alien from that which is necessary to display the excellence and force of example. In believing that Christ came into the world to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself, we are in possession of a principle which is never repulsed by the language of the New Testament, and which alone is wanted for its elucidation and consistency. The state of man requires that other means for his restoration than either teaching or example, be employed: these, it is true, are parts of the design of the new economy; but the removal of his
guilt by a sacrifice for sin is its primary purpose-the sacrifice of Christ through whom we receive the Reconciliation.'
Mr. Wilson's Work is divided into four chapters: On the criterion of sacred truth. On the pre-existence of Christ. On the Divinity of Christ. On the importance of the Doctrine. with an Appendix of Criticisms, comprised in fourteen pages. As a specimen of the argumentative address of the Author, we extract a part of his remarks on the passage, 2 Cor. viii. 9.
""Ye know," says Paul to the Corinthians, "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, tirat though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich."
Upon the fact of his pre-existence being antecedently established, the Unitarians think that this passage may fairly be considered as a graceful allusion to it, but by no means as an independent proof. We are satisfied, from what has been said, that the Saviour was in possession of glory" before the world was," and we would therefore infer, according to this admission, that in this glory, he is said in the passage before us, to be rich, whilst he also became poor. But we further think that its phraseology absolutely and unequivocally conveys the idea. It directly asserts, that he now was, what before he was not. Being rich he became poo" To avoid the conclusion which must necessarily be drawn if these words in Italics be rightly rendered, the Unitarians contend for the translation, he lived in poverty; and upon this idea they thus state the passage:- "Ye know the kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sa es he lived in poverty, that ye through his poverty might be rich." From this they understand, that he voluntarily relinquished those comforts and conveniences of life, which he procured for others by the exercise of his miraculous powers, and which he might have obtained for himself had it been consistent with the plan of redemption. But he exposed himself to want and misery in every varied form, to leave his followers an example of patience, resignation, and self denial, that there they might be rich in faith, piety, and benevolence.*
The truth of this exposition in a great measure depends upon the rendering of the verb, to be poor, instead of the common version, to become poor But independent of its inconsistency with our Saviour's antecedent assertions concerning his pre-existence, we are justified in rejecting this translation, upon the authority of the learned SchleusHer, and an host of other venerated names.+"Rich," says Archbishop Newcome, in the glories of the divine nature, he became poor, by taking on him human nature, and appearing even in an humble state of life." "He was rich," says Dr. Doddridge," in the glories of the heavenly world, and in supreme dominion and authority there, yet for your sakes he became por." "Though he was rich," as Dr.
* Wakefield's Inquiry, p. 176. Belsham's Inquiry, p. 121. † πτωχύω, “ Pauper fio," "Ad mendicitatem reductus sum." Schleusner. Newcome, quoted by Belsham. Doddridge in loc M'Knight in loc. Hammond in c.
VOL. X. N. S.