« AnteriorContinuar »
Jesus Christ,) is urged, or the making a right choice. Men are told they have hitherto chosen the world, all they have to do is to choose God; that they have had it as their purpose to gain the things of this life, they must now change their purpose, and serve God. Our objection is not now to the doctrines actually held by these brethren, but to their character. istic method of preaching, the effects of which we have had some opportunity of learning. Conviction of sin is made of little account; Christ and his atonement are kept out of view, so that the method of salvation is not distinctly presented to the minds of the people. The tendency of this defect, as far as it extends, is fatal to religion and the souls of men. The happiness is, that sinners are not under the influence of this kind of preaching alone; their religious character is not entirely formed by this mode of representing what God requires; but, when excited by the pungency and power with which these brethren frequently address the conscience, and when aroused to the necessity of doing something to secure the favour of God, they are influenced by the truth already lodged in their minds, or derived from the immediate perusal of the Scriptures, and hence, under the influence of the Spirit of God, instead of following the directions of their teachers, which would lead to God, in some other way than through Christ, they feel their need of the Saviour, and go to him as the Gospel directs. It is in this way, we have no doubt, much of the evil of this lamentable neglect of the grand doctrines of the Gospel is prevented. But just so far as this defective mode of representing the mode of salvation has any influence, it is to introduce a radically new system of religion. We again remark, we do not doubt, that if these preachers were asked if they meant to leave Christ thus out of view, and to direct sinners to God without his intervention, they would answer, No. But we are not speaking of what they may believe on the subject, but of the manner in which, both from the press and the pulpit, the great duty of the sinner under the Gospel is presented.
It was our intention to call the attention of our readers to the panacea which the reviewer has discovered, (or rather undertaken to recommend) for the cure of all doctrinal differences. But our notice of his pamphlet has already been protracted to three times the length we originally intended, and we therefore have time to say but little on ihe subject. His prescription is, to draw a distinction between the doctrines of religion and the philosophy of the doctrines, which he justly remarks, is an important distinction, which it is of the highest moment should be understood and properly applied. “ The doctrines of religion are the simple facts of Christianity. The philosophy of the doctrines is the mode adopted of stating and illustrating those facts, in their relations to each other, to the human mind, to the whole character and government of God. From this distinction, results the following most important practical principle of Christian fellowship and of theological discussion. All who teach the leading facts or doctrines of Christianity are orthodox, though they differ greatly in their philosophy of those doctrines.” p. 31. The reviewer gives these passages in italics, to note his sense of their importance. We are constrained, however, to think, that although they contain a very obvious and familiar truth, they are of little consequence for his purpose. The truth they contain is, that there is a distinction between the essentials and not essentials of a doctrine. We care little about his calling doctrines facts. But how is this to aid any one in deciding on what is heresy, and what is not? The reviewer chooses to say, that the fact which all the orthodox must receive respecting sin is, that it exists, and that it is a dreadful evil. But how its existence is accounted for, is philosophising about it. But if I assert, it exists by the immediate efficient agency of God, do not I assert a fact, as much as when I say it exists? Or, if I say
it exists because God cannot control a moral agent, do not I assert a fact? Again, the orthodox fact about man's natural character is, that in consequence of the fall of Adam, men sin and only sin, until renewed by the Holy Spirit; the philosophy is in accounting for it. But is it not obvious, that when the Church declares, that the universality of actual sin is to be accounted for by a sinful corruption of nature, she means to declare, that the Scriptures account for one fact by another? When it is said, we are condemned for the sin of Adam, is it not a fact again asserted? We think, therefore, the reviewer's distinction between facts and the philosophy of them, perfectly futile. The use he would make of it, is still worse. “All who teach the leading facts of Christianity, are orthodox.” But what are these facts? Let the reviewer state them, and then he is orthodox; let Edwards state them, and he is a heretic. The substance of the fact regarding man's character, is, that somehow, in consequence of the fall, he sins and only sins, &c. Is not this a bald petitio principii? That somehow may be the very thing which the Scriptures clearly
reveal, and reveal as a fact. Again, it is a fact that we are saved by the death of Christ—this we have seen stated as the doctrine of atonement. Yet, as so stated, there is not a Socinian in the world, who is not orthodox on this point. This fact is not all that the Scriptures teach, nor that it is necessary to believe. The death of Christ saves us, and saves us as a sacrifice. That it operates in this mode, and not in another, is as much a matter of fact, as that it operates at all. Again, it is a fact, that men are renewed and sanctified by the Holy Spirit. But here again, all Arminians, Pelagians, and even Socinians are orthodox; for they admit the fact as much as the reviewer does, allowing them to make the Spirit of God mean “divine energy.") They and he might philosophise rather differently about it; but the fact they all admit. How the Spirit does the work, is matter of explanation, some say, by an immediate influence on the mind; others by moral suasion, or presenting motives; others by having revealed the truth in the Scriptures-so that the result may be ascribed either to the truth as the immediate cause, or to its revealer, the Spirit. And so, finally, though illustrations might be multiplied without end, the Scriptures are a divine revelation; here is a fact, in which, it would seem, all might acquiesce, and be orthodox, without asking, how God reveals truth to
Yet this fact, the neologists of Germany hold and proclaim. It is true, when they come to the philosophy of the fact, they tell us they mean that the Scriptures are a providential revelation from God, in the same sense as the Dialogues of Plato.
It is too obvious to need comment, that the reviewer's position is all that any man in the world, who professes any form of Christianity, needs, to prove his orthodoxy. Let him have the stating of scriptural facts, and he will do as the reviewer in many cases has done, state them so generally, that Arminians, Pelagians, and Socinians, as well as Calvinists can adopt them, and, according to this standard, be orthodox.
We have spoken of this anonymous pamphlet with sincerity : that is, as we really felt. We view it as highly objectionable in the respect to which we have principally referred. Whoever the writer may be, we think he has more reason to lament having given occasion to the Christian public to ask, how his statements can be reconciled with notorious facts, than to be offended at the strictures to which it may, and ought, to subject him.
Waibel, Dogmatik der Relig. Jesu Christi. Augsburgh.
A text book of Popery, comprising a brief history of the Council of Trent, and copious extracts from the Catechisms published by its authority, with notes and illustrations; intended to furnish a correct and complete view of the theological system of Popery. By J. M. Cramp. Repub. New York. pp. 451.
Bates' Harmony of the Divine Attributes, with an introductory essay by Dr. Alexander, being the fourth number of the Library of Religious Knowledge. New York.
The New Divinity Tried; being an examination of a Sermon delivered by Rev. C. G. Finney on making a New Heart. By Asa Rand. Boston. pp. 16.
Review of “ The New Divinity Tried.” Boston. pp. 44.
When does the Sabbath begin? A careful examination of the passages of Scripture which are thought to favour the beginning of the Sabbath on Saturday evening at sunset. By Melvin Copeland. Hartford. pp. 18.
Lectures on Universalism. By Rev. Joel Parker, Pastor of the Free Presbyterian Church, New York.
The Christian Doctrine of Regeneration. By J. H. F. Blanchard, of Harvard, (Mass.) Boston. pp. 81.
Coup-d'æil sur la controverse chretienne depuis les premieres siecles jusqu'a nos jours. By the Abbe Gerbet.
The Apostolicity of Trinitarianism; or the testimony of history to the positive antiquity and apostolical inculcation of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity By George Stanley Faber. London. 2 vols.
The Select Works of Archbishop Leighton. Prepared for the practical use of Christians, with an introductory view of the life, character, and writings of the author. By Geo. B. Cheever. Boston. pp. 569.
Spiritual Life, or Regeneration illustrated in a series of disquisitions relative to its author, subject, nature, means, &c. By George Duffield, Pastor of the Presbyterian Church, Carlisle, Penn. pp. 613.
The Writings of the late John M. Mason, D. D. consisting of Sermons, Es
says, and Miscellanies; including Essays already published in the Christian Magazine. Selected and arranged by Rev. Ebenezer Mason. New York. 4 vols.
Lectures on Christian Theology. By George Christian Knapp. Translated by Leonard Woods, jr. Abbot Resident, Andover Seminary. 2 vols.
Dr. Gregory's edition of the works of Robert Hall. New York. 3 vols.
BIBLICAL AND PHILOLOGICAL.
Questions and Notes, critical and practical, on the book of Genesis. By George Bush. New York. pp. 467.
Mauser, Commentar. üb. das Buch Josua. Stuttgard.
Paulus, exegetisches Handbuch uber die drei ersten Evangelien. Heidelberg.
The Prophetic blessings of Jacob and Moses respecting the twelve tribes of Israel, explained and vindicated. London.
Second edition of Gibbs's Manual Hebrew and English Lexicon. New Haven.
A series of Sermons on the xxxiii. chapter of Deuteronomy. By Wm. Parkinson, Pastor of the First Baptist Church, New York. 1st vol. pp. 554.
It is proposed to publish in London, a condensation of all the English Commentaries on the Old and New Testament.
HISTORICAL AND BIOGRAPHICAL.
Journal of the Life and Religious Labours of Elias Hicks. Written by himself. 2d edition. pp. 451. New York.
A general view of the progress of Ethical Philosophy, chiefly during the 17th and 18th centuries. By Sir James Mackintosh. Philadelphia. pp. 304.
A short view of the whole Scripture History, with a continuation of the Jew. ish affairs from the Old Testament to the time of Christ, and an account of the chief prophecies relating to him. By Dr. Watts. Revised and enlarged by Rev. R. S. Shimeall. New York. pp. 506. With a chart.
The Life of Wicliff. By Charles Webb Le Bas. London.
Origines Hebrææ, or the Antiquities of the Hebrew Republic. By Thomas Lewis. London.
Memoirs and Confessions of Francis Volkmar Reinhard, S. T. D. Court Preacher at Dresden. Translated from the German, by Oliver A. Taylor, Resident Licentiate at Andover Seminary.