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-a motive unapprehensible by man, until that love had been manifested on the cross. How did St. John, the Apostle of charity, teach the lesson which he delighted to inculcate ? “ Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” We are content to be ignorant of Aristotle's great moral principle, and to inculcate Christian charity after the manner of Christ and his Apostles. But we must be permitted to state in our defence a fact which Mr. Williams seems to have forgotten or overlooked ; that Aristotle had taught in vain for three centuries and a half, when the cross of Christ began to be preached, and charity to be inculcated on the ground of the Atonement; and that the change effected in a few short years was such, that admiring heathens were obliged to exclaim, “See how these Christians love one another.” We proceed to speak of another virtue, humility :
Or again," says Mr. Williams," he only will be humble in heart who does humble actions; and no action is (morally speaking) an humble action but such as proceeds from the spirit of humility; and he who does humble actions will be most humble; and he who is most humble will be most emptied of self-righteousness, and therefore will most of all value the cross of Christ, being least of all sensible of his own good deeds: and the more he does these works, the more will the Holy Spirit dwell with him, according to the promises of Scripture, and the more fully will he come to the knowledge of that mystery which is hid in Christ. That teacher, therefore, who will most induce men to do these works, will most of all bring men unto Christ, though he speaks not most fully and loudly of His ever blessed Atonement.”
But is this the way in which our blessed Lord taught humility ? “Whosoever,” he says, “ will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant : even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” Is this the way in which St. Paul taught it ? “Let nothing be done,” says the Apostle, “through strife or vain glory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus : who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men : and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”
Mr. Williams's third illustration has reference to prayer :“Or again," he says, "good works consist especially in prayers. He who does most of these good works, i.e. he who prays most, seeks most of all for an assistance out of and beyond himself, and therefore relies least of all on himself, and most of all upon God; and the more he does these good works, the more does he rely upon God's good Spirit, for which he seeks. He, therefore, who by preaching the judgment to come, or by recommending alms and fasting, or by impressing men with a sense of the shortness of life and the value of eternity, or by any such practical appeals which the occasion suggests, will lead men most to pray, will do most towards leading them to lean on God's good Spirit, although he may not repeat in express words the necessity of aid from that good Spirit, without whom we cannot please God.”
But, once more, is this the method of St. Paul ? “Seeing then,” he says, "that we have a great High Priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” It was not by preaching the terrors of the final judgment; it was not by recommending alms and fasting, that the Apostle sought to lead his converts to the throne of grace. His appeal rests upon far other grounds—-upon the Atonement and Intercession of Christ. A risen Saviour, he says,—a Saviour who is touched with the feeling of your infirmities, is waiting within the heavenly sanctuary, to receive the incense of your supplications. Therefore pray, and pray with the confidence of faith. “ Come boldly, that ye may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Neither did he hesitate to declare the necessity of aid from that good Spirit, without whom we cannot please God. “Likewise,” he says, “the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities; for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” We cannot even conceive of two systems more opposite than that of Mr. Williams and that of the gospel. Mr. Williams must pardon us for following Christ and his Apostles in preference to Aristotle, and for believing that they knew what were the motives best calculated to reach the heart, and, by consequence, to reform the conduct.
Our limits will not permit us to examine all the illustrations which Mr. Williams gives of his principle of reserve. over, therefore, his remarks upon the sin of covetousness, a sin which we agree with him in regarding as one very prevalent in our own days, and “of which we are all in danger.” But the teaching of St. Paul does not go to establish a contrary habit by the repeated performance of alms-deeds. He attacks the evil in the heart of man, and applies to it the gospel remedy, “ Ye know
the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye, through his poverty, might be rich.” Mr. Williams's observations upon impurity deserve particular notice :
“So also,” he says, “ with respect to impurity of heart; for a man of impure heart may be very sensibly affected by these touching and vital doctrines of the gospel: and yet it is certain that he cannot receive them rightly, for the pure in heart alone can see God, and therefore can alone see, so as rightly to understand, those doctrines in which God is manifested. That minister, therefore, who by preaching the terrors of the judgment-day, or by any other scriptural means, induces men to repent of these crimes, will necessarily and by a plain moral consequence open their eyes, their ears, their heart, to receive the high saving principles of the gospel, though he speak not explicitly of them any more than the Baptist did, or our Lord, or his Apostles.
This is intended as another illustration of Aristotle's great moral principle ; but in replying to it we further observe, that Mr. WilLiams speaks of a second principle, which he calls “natural modesty," and that this principle, according to him, should not only hinder us from setting the doctrine of the Atonement before those who want the moral preparation which he considers necessary; but should likewise make us very careful of introducing the name of the Holy Spirit, and of speaking freely of his work upon the heart. The following passage, which we quote at length from Tract 87, will give the author's meaning in his own words :
“ But besides this, the awful name of the blessed Spirit, without whom we can neither think nor do any thing that is right, is, as is supposed, ever in like manner to be proclaimed as it were in the market-place; and those who do not do so are supposed to deny His power, the power of the ever-blessed Spirit of God, in whose name we are baptized, whom in the doxology we confess daily, in whom we live and move. Let these sacred words be introduced in our teaching, as they are in Holy Scripture. But even from this we almost shrink, at feeling that they have been used in an unreal manner, and taken in vain;' for these holiest of words may be constantly used by us, when we are not at all affected and influenced by so concerning a doctrine; which may be seen by the whole of our character in daily life, and tone of our teaching; by self-confidence, and an absence of that fear and trembling which ever follows the consciousness, that it is God that worketh in us both to will and to do.' And what is' done in such a case? Is the effect merely nugatory? Surely not: great injury is done by this irreverence to that most sacred name. There is far less chance of real repentance in such a case. Surely this great and life-giving doctrine might be taught more truly by one who practised no obtrusive system of this sort; to say nothing of his practical instructions, every word of which might be calculated to teach a person dependence on God, but even by his silence."
Now it will be granted in the first place, that the subject of fornication is one peculiarly ill-adapted for reverent and devout mention of the name of the Spirit ; and in the second place, that those persons, whom it was found necessary to warn repeatedly against the sin of fornication, were not, to say the least, in a very advanced
state of moral training. If then it can be shewn that St. Paul, in treating of fornication, uses no other arguinent whatever, except what we should call the two great arguments of the gospel—“Ye are bought with the price of Christ's blood,” and “Ye are the temples of the Holy Ghost”-it follows, either that this principle of natural modesty is a dream dreamt first by Origen, and then by Mr. Williams; or that St. Paul was one of the most immodest men that ever lived. But this can be shewn by a reference to the sixth chapter of the first epistle to the Corinthians, where the Apostle, taking up the subject at the thirteenth verse, and continuing it to the end of the chapter, writes thus respecting it :-"Now the body is not for fornication but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body. And God hath both raised up the Lord, and will also raise up us by his own power. Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot ? God forbid! What I know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body ? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What ! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own ? For ye are bought with a price : therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit
, which are God's.” Alas for Mr. Williams's principle of natural modesty in speaking of the Atonement and the Holy Spirit! It is as utterly worthless, when tried by the test of Christianity, as Aristotle's great moral principle—“that we become righteous by acting righteously.”
There is another Aristotelian fallacy which pervades both of Mr. Williams's tracts. Aristotle has determined knowledge to be the end, and holiness of life to be the means towards its attainment; and consistently with this view has placed copia, which is purely theoretic—the perfection of the reasoning powers-above those virtues which are practical in their character--the perfections of the moral powers. It is not our object even to enquire, whether this view of human good agree or disagree with what is revealed to us respecting the happiness of a future state. As far as we can see, charity * is the only virtue, of which it is distinctly stated in Scripture, that it “never faileth ;” but we mean not to quarrel with those who consider that the human mind will always continue in a state of progression, and that a part at least of the happiness of heaven will consist in the increasing developement of knowledge. It may be that this view is correct; we know that it has many
* i.e. love ; charity in its proper and unrestricted sense.
advocates. At all events, Aristotle's principle was incorrect in the sense in which he meant it, and in which Mr. Williams means it. Aristotle's horizon was bounded by the narrow limits of human life; for, as Luther has well observed, “It was easy for him to imagine the world eternal, in whose mind the soul of man was mortal.” And Mr. Williams teaches through both his tracts,* that here, in our present state of existence, we come to the knowledge of Christ through holiness of life; whereas the gospel declares that it is through the knowledge of Christ that we are made holy, that “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” † This view of Mr. Williams's is, in our opinion, a most pernicious error. The whole system of preparatory moral training, of antecedent good works, and reserve in communicating religious knowledge depends upon it, as effect upon cause. When, therefore, we see such a principle asserted, not so much in any distinct form, in the definite tangibility of a logical conclusion, resting, or at least pretending to rest upon proof, as on the Nos diximus—the " Ego et Rex meus
» of Mr. Williams and Aristotle, we must at once protest against a system of moral training, which leads men to misinterpret Scripture according to the dogmas of heathen philosophy; and we must lament with Luther, that the time and talent of so many students capable of better things, have been, and continue to be unprofitably wasted, or rather dangerously misapplied. For this misapplication the University of Oxford is accountable. She has made a
* See Tract 80, p. 38; Tract 87, pages 32 and 40, et passim. + The following beautiful passage, very much abridged from a sermon on Christian Race,"' by the Rev. T. Tunstall Smith, places knowledge and holiness so exactly in their proper position with regard to each other, and explains their mutual relation so accurately, that we cannot resist quoting it; and we do so the more readily, in the hope that Mr. Williams may be induced to read what has been said on this and many other important subjects, by a writer whose High Church principles are as unquestionable as his own. " In every race there is a commencing point, whence the competitors break forth upon the course; there is also a goal which terminates their career. There is, first, a barrier; which marks the commencement of the course. This to the Christian is the cross of Christ. Faith in a crucified Saviour is not the end of a Christian's attainments. It is not to be made the ultimate aim of his strenuous aspirations. That is a momentous error which regards the death of Christ as the terminating object, in which the believer has only to rest and do nothing. It is, on the contrary, the starting-post of a busy career, whence the Christian breaks forth' with hope and alacrity on all the services of a new obedience. The competitor for the prize in the public games found it necessary to divest himself previously of every encumbrance which might incommode him. And in like manner, the candidate for the heavenly prize must “ lay aside every weight.'. The burden of his sins must be previously cast off, and the cares which weigh down his spirit must be removed. But where shall he divest himself of these hindrances, but at the feet of a crucified Saviour? In the next place, there is a goal towards which the candidate must press forward. This goal, the end of Christianity, is perfection in holiness. The design of the gospel is to transform man-to renew him after the image of Him that created him. And since the perfection of holiness ever lies in the distance beyond you, here is need of unremitting energy and undaunted perseverance."- Sermons by the Rev. T. Tunstall Smith, M.A. 1841.