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do:" and "Be ye followers of me, even as I also follow Christ," --they destroy more by a bad life, than they build up by sound doctrine; they disgrace religion, insinuate a scepticism as to what they preach, and open a wide door to libertinism and atheism. And indeed I might ask, how is it possible for one who knows the truth as it is in Jesus, not to be inflamed with the love of Christ-not be made holy in the truth? Surely he in whose tabernacle God vouchsafes communion, must needs walk with him, as did Enoch and Noah. He whose soul has experienced and tasted heavenly things must have his conversation in heaven. He who daily contemplates the attributes of God, shining in the face of Jesus Christ, and is surrounded on every side by the light of grace, cannot but be transformed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. So that I hesitate not to asseverate, that he is no genuine Theologian, and has seen no ray of the divine mysteries in any suitable manner, whose knowledge of truth has not led him to escape

the pollutions of the world and the dominion of sin. For thus saith the Lord: ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free. Intellectum intelligendo omnia fieri, is an ancient axiom of the philosophers. It was this which the Platonists chiefly sought in the contemplation of the divine ideas, by the sublime knowledge of which man becomes a god, so far as man can be made participant of the divine condition, as Hierocles elegantly remarks. But that which philosophy could not accomplish for her followers, exhibiting the divine perfections only by the unfavourable light of nature, Theology richly furnishes to hers, displaying to their contemplation the glories of God and of his Christ in the refulgence of grace, and thus making them partakers of a divine nature; as the inspired apostle Peter speaks. For God is holiness. By holiness, I intend the sum of all virtues, which it would be here inappropriate to discuss particularly. Desire of heaven; contempt of the world; unfeigned sobriety; modesty, diligent in its own affairs, and not prying into those of others; a temper as studious of peace as of truth; fervent zeal, attempered with bland lenity; long suffering under rebuke and injury; prudent caution, as well with regard to times as actions; rigid self-inspection, with forbearing mildness towards brethren; and whatever else pertains to this sacred constellation-these, these not only adorn, but constitute the Theologian. I figure to myself a man, who while intent on

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heavenly meditations, simulates no gravity of visage or garb, but panting for high and eternal things, holds in contempt the splendour of the rich, and the earth with all its gold and sil

Contented with the grace of Christ the Saviour, and the fellowship of the indwelling Spirit, he looks from an eminence down on all the blandishments of earthly vanity, and craves no wealth, nor pleasure, nor fame. Fully intent upon the care of souls, and the guarding, protecting and extending of Christ's spiritual kingdom, and on beautifying what is already possessed, he owes nothing to the forum, the camp, or the court. He looks for no office, preoccupies no rostrum, courts no patronage, seeks favour of no authority, plays no oratorical part, but justly discriminating between the church, the college, and the court, limits himself to the pulpit or the chair. The higher his flight in the contemplation of heavenly things and the practice of piety, the less does he seek to obscure a brother's honour; measuring himself not with himself, but with those who are above him, and especially with the perfect law of God. In all that concerns the cause of God, the salvation of souls, the defence of the church, and the protection of divine truth, he is all on fire with zeal for God, and would rather endure a hundred deaths, that concede one iota to an adversary in that which is not his own, but the Lord's. Yet for himself he avenges no wrongs, meckly bears the maledictions which are hurled at his head, and in the warmest contest, lays no stress on his own imaginations, but yields every thing for peace and concord. Such an one, to use the expression of the ancients respecting Athanasius, is, to those who strike, an adamant; to those who differ, a magnet. With prudence in counsel, he attempts nothing rashly, accomplishes nothing turbulently; and with a humility not feigned nor outward, but with all the simplicity of candour, casts himself at the feet of all, exalts himself above none, and prefers each to himself. Show me such an one, and I will salute him as the genuine Theologian, with veneration, with embraces, acknowledging that he is the glory of Christ, and that the glory of Christ is in him.

ART. III.-ON THE USE AND ABUSE OF SYSTEMATIC

THEOLOGY.

A system of theology is a methodical disposition of scriptural doctrines, with due connexion and arrangement, so far as they are susceptible of a scientific form. Such a work may contain either a simple enunciation of truths under appropriate topics, or the body of proof by which these are sustained. But within the latitude of our definition are comprised, not only the volumes of professed theologians, but even confes. sions, catechisms, and other symbolical books of churches.

The origin of systems is to be sought in the laws of the human mind. The Scriptures present us with divine truth, not in logical or scientific order, but dispersed irregularly under the various forms of history, precepts, promises, threatenings, exhortations, and prophecies. It is scarcely left to the option of the reader whether he will classify these truths in his own mind; for this classification begins and is pursued, spontaneously, with regard to all departments of human knowledge. Every man, whose reasoning faculty rises above that of the idiot, is conscious of an attempt to refer each successive acquisition of knowledge to its proper place in the general fund of his recollections, and to connect it with its like among that which is already known.

It is very evident that the order of truths as they are presented in the Scripture is not intended to be the only order in which they shall be entertained in the mind. If this were the case, all meditation would be useless, since this exercise does not reveal new doctrines, but, by giving rise to comparison of those already known, in various connexions, discovers the relations and dependencies of all. The illustration of Lord Bacon is well known: the water of life as contained in the fountain of the Scriptures, is thence drawn and set before us, very much in the same manner as natural water is taken from wells. For when the latter is drawn, it is either first received into a reservoir, whence, by divers pipes it may conveniently be conducted abroad for general use; or it is at once poured into vessels for immediate service. The former methodical way, adds this philosopher, gives origin to systems of theology, by

*

which scriptural doctrine is collected in scientific form, and thence distributed, by the conduits of axioms and propositions, to every part.

No primitive Christian could have answered the question, What is Christianity? without proceeding to systematize its truths in a greater or less degree: and every reader of the Holy Scriptures undesignedly pursues the same method. For instance, the various attributes of God are revealed in Scripture, not in theological order, nor consecutively, but in various places, by means of scattered examples, sometimes figuratively, sometimes by implication, and never all at once. Now it is manifestly desirable that every man should have a connected idea of the perfections of Jehovah; and the reader of the Bible will necessarily lay together the various representations, and thus conclude that God is spiritual, eternal, infinite, immutable, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, most true, most holy, most wise, and most good. This aggregation of truths is, in fact, a system, and it is precisely thus that systematic theology has its origin. No man can converse with a Scottish mechanic, who happens to be a good textuary, without discerning that he has his heads and topics to which he refers all his scriptural knowledge, and that the doctrines which he believes are reduced to a classification more or less exact. Indeed, each of us may bring the matter to a speedy test by looking within and inquiring whether such an arrangement of our religious tenets is not constantly going forward, with the gradual increase of our settled opinions. This will be clear or obscure, logical or confused, according to the correct. ness and extent of our knowledge, and the sagacity and vigour of our intellect. It may be vitiated by the addition of that which is extraneous, or by false expositions of Scripture; but such a syllabus of divine truth is possessed, in memory, if not in writing, by every Christian, whether wise or simple.

The association of ideas affords a natural ground for classification; though by no means the sole ground. Mere similarity of particulars may serve as a basis for technical arrangement, as in the Linnæan system of botany, but this is scarcely a philosophical method. The more any department of knowledge partakes of the character of a pure science, the greater is its susceptibility of being systematized; and this is eminently the character of divine truth. There was a time, indeed,

* De Augm, Scient. lib. Ix, c. i. $ 3.

when the question was mooted, whether theology is a science, but that time has gone by, and with it should have vanished the occasion of the present argument.

There is danger, however, that we shall be charged with disrespect to the understanding of our readers, in offering serious proof of a position so tenable, and which, but for party zeal, would never have been controverted. For what are all theological discussions, but so many systems ? Every didactic sermon is a systematized chapter of the great book of revelation. Every essay or discourse upon any scriptural truth is an attempt to arrange, under certain topics, and with conclusive arguments, the scattered testimony of inspiration in favour of that truth. The only effect of banishing professed systems would therefore be, to repress all endeavours to present the subject as a harmonious whole, and to leave us in possession of schemes characterized by undigested crudity.

The logical and systematic arrangement of a science has various important uses.

It affords aid to the memory; since a thousand insulated and disjointed truths can scarcely be kept in remembrance, while, in their regular connexion and mutual dependency, they may be tenaciously retained, and clearly communicated. The knowledge of a subject may be said to be adequate, only when it is thus known. The heterogeneous mass is clarified and reduced to order, by being ranged under topics according to the inherent differences of the several species, and set off into departments, with reference to the distinction of elementary, secondary, and inferential positions. Thus, in the study of natural history, although the classification of the received systems is in a measure arbitrary, (that is, independent of the philosophical connexion of cause and effects) those things which are homogeneous are placed together, and the mind is enabled to comprehend what would otherwise be “a mighty maze, and all without a plan.” In the progress of study, as knowledge is augmented, it is highly advantageous to have a predisposed scheme, to some niche of which every new acquisition may immediately be referred, as to its proper place in the system. This is true, even when the scheme is framed in a merely technical and arbitrary manner. Such was the classification of minerals, as practised before the late discoveries in crystallography; and such the science of chemistry continues to be in many of its departments. But the advantage is immensely greater, when, as is true of theology, the subject admits of a natural, exact, and philosophical dispo

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