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Warburton's most horrible Doctrine.'
that Paradise of which Moses writes in the Hundreds of Essex or in the Wilds of Kent.' Then Law states his own well-known views of the Divine man who died the very day that he did eat of the forbidden tree, and of the Christ within who was to restore him.' In a noble passage, which is too long to quote, Law protests against Warburton's explanation of the creation of man, as if God had merely formed dust and clay into a dead lumpish figure of a man, and then breathed life into it.' Law's own theory is already familiar to the reader,' who will at once perceive how widely he differed from Warburton. After re-stating it he concludes, ‘Had not man an eternal spirit in him, as the offspring of the eternal God, he could no more want to have any intercourse with the eternal world than a fish can want to be out of the water. He could no more be taught religion than a parrot could. “ Let us eat and drink for to-morrow we die,” would be the highest and truest philosophy, if there is no more of a Divine life or heavenly nature in man than in the chattering swallow.'
Not only Law's sense of the dignity of the human soul, but also his reverence for the inspired writer was outraged by Dr. Warburton's account. It was a 'most horrible doctrine' that Moses designedly and industriously secreted from God's chosen people all thought and apprehension of any eternal relation that they had with God. *If he really taught them that they had nothing to enjoy or hope for but the good things of this life, he did all that well could be done to make them an earthly, covetous, stiff-necked, and brutal people.'
Nor was Moses the only sacred penman who was debased by Dr. Warburton's account. Law was, if possible, even more indignant at his attempting to enlist David in
See Ch. XV. of this work, passim.
· Holy David's Case.
his cause. It will be remembered that the chanting of the Psalms of David formed an essential part of the Christian's devotion in the 'Serious Call,' and it is interesting to find the old man vindicating the favourite of his youth and middle age from the charge of confirming Warburton's theory of the suppression of the doctrine of immortality. * Holy David's case, writes Law, 'is sufficient to have deterred the doctor from a hypothesis which has obliged him to place this Divine, sweet singer of Israel amongst those who had not the least sense or thought of any eternal relation they had to God. This holy David, the man after God's own heart, the type of Christ, the royal prophet who foretold the resurrection of Christ, who was thus deep in the counsels of God, whose inspired Psalms are and have been chanted in all ages of the Christian Church as the pious breathing of the Holy Spirit ; this holy, spiritual, typical, prophesying David, to be crowded among those who had nothing to hope from God or thank Him for but the blessings of a temporal life, till death put the same end to the All of David as it did to those few sheep that he had once kept! This David, appealed to as giving evidence against all happiness but that of this life, and represented in his Divine transports as setting forth the wisdom of believing that the life of man ends like that of a rotten sheep, in a death that brings him into the dark land of forgetfulness, singing gloriously, “ The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence," &c. !' Law then vindicated such expressions as these in the Psalms from an interpretation which made them ‘mere heathenish songs,' instead of being, as they are, as full of heavenly devotion, as flowing with Divine love, as if composed by an angel.'
Once more. Not only was Warburton's general theory as well as his incidental proofs of it abhorrent to Law; the
Deists to be met in the spirit of Love.
doctor's method of proving it was equally objectionable. We have seen that in Law's view there was but one way to Divine knowledge; the turning of the soul to God in gentleness, humility, and resignation. Human learning could do nothing here. The somewhat ponderous and elaborate display of knowledge, 'de quolibet ente et quibusdam aliis,' which Warburton showed in his colossal work grated upon Law's feelings terribly. "The Doctor, he says, "has, by strength of genius and great industry, amassed together no small heap of learned decisions of points, doctrines, as well heathenish as Christian, much the greatest part of which the Christian reader will find himself obliged to drive out of his thoughts, as soon as he can in right good earnest say with the jaylor, “What must I do to be saved ?”) Law did not doubt the sincerity of Warburton's intention to defend Christianity against the Deists, but he thought such a defence was 'not more promising than a trap to catch humility. The spirit and the language in which alone unbelievers could be effectually addressed must be the spirit and the language of that Love and Goodness in whose arms the defender should long to see them embraced.'
Yet deeply as Warburton shocked and grieved Law both by his matter and his manner, Law never once descends to personal scurrility in reply; he is severe against his doctrine, never against the man. How Warburton met him in return we shall see in a future chapter.
Here we may fitly close our examination of what Law wrote with a view to publication. He wrote yet two other treatises before his death ; but the first of these, entitled,
' It seemed right to word this clause thus, rather than to say "Law's printed works,' because his letters were published, but they were not written with a view to publication.
Law's Life seen in his Writings.
'A Dialogue between a Methodist and a Churchman,' is too slight a performance to require a separate notice ; it will be referred to when we treat of the connection between Law and the Methodists. The other, entitled An Address to the Clergy,' was written when Law was all but a dying man, and will be best considered in connection with his death.
To some it may appear that too much has already been said about Law's writings in a work which purports to be a life of the man. But the fact is, we see the man in his writings. Law thought very little, and said very little, directly, about himself. Egotism and vanity are the very last faults with which he can be charged. Nevertheless, a man of great force of character, who throws his whole soul into his works, who always writes with intense earnestness of purpose, always with a view to the edification, never to the amusement, hardly ever to the instruction, of his reader, cannot help stamping all that he writes with his own marked individuality. When Miss Gibbon was asked to write a life of Law, she replied, His life is in his books. This is so far true, that a biographer would be neglecting to work a mine rich in illustrations of his subject if he did not thoroughly sift these books; and this must be the apology for having dwelt so long upon them.
THERE are two species of composition which one expects to find, as a matter of course, largely quoted in every biography - at any rate in every religious biography-belonging to the eighteenth century, viz. the diary and the correspondence. When a man became seriously impressed, his first impulse appears to have been to write a diary.' Sometimes he went further still, and wrote a regular autobiography. But Law's biographer could expect to find no such godsends. Happily for him, Law's friend Byrom differed from his master in this respect ; but then, Byrom lived a very different life from that of Law; his contact with the outer world at many points afforded him ample material for that amusing journal which has been and will be so largely utilised in the work. But if Law had kept a diary, what could he have put into it? His outer life was a singularly uneventful one ; and he was the last man in the world to keep a record of his ‘frames and feelings and religious experiences,' all which things he heartily distrusted. “The desire of the soul turned to God in humility, gentleness, and resignation '--that was the one frame of the Christian, and it did not admit of any substantial variation. Law was no more likely to have left us any word-painting of
| Thus, when Charles Wesley became very seriously concerned about spiritual things, he wrote to his brother John, I would willingly write a diary;' and then consults him as to what he should put into it. See Memoirs of the Rev. Charles Wesley, by T. Jackson, p. 7.