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64 SECT. II.-from his attributes
77 SECT. III.- from his works
79 SECT. IV.-from the worship ascribed to him
85 Sact. V.from the absurd and blasphemous consequences of Anti-trinitarian principles
93 Sect. VI.-Objections answered
95 CHAPTER IV. The Supreme Deity of the Holy Ghost defended, and the absurdity or the Arian system exposed
110 Doctor Bruce's view of the sin against the Holy Ghost shown to be
112 his objections answered
116 Baptism and the Apostolic Benediction, on Arian principles, involve great absurdities
118 CHAPTER V.
The Atonement Defended. SECT. I.-The necessity of it proved
119 SECT. 11.-Reconciliation shown to be necessary on the part of God as well as on the part of man
126 SECT. III.-The death of Christ vicarious
132 SECT. IV.-Objections answered
142 SECT. V.-The moral tendency of the Atonement
148 SECT. VI.-Extent of the Atonement
153 CHAPTER VI. Original Sin defended
158 Calvinistic opinion
159 Arminian opinion
162 Arian opinion
ib. Dr. Millar inconsistently joins with Dr. Bruce in condemning the
Westminster Divines' description of Original Sin, whilst the
165 Dr. Bruce's objections answered
166 His attempt to answer Calvinistic reasoning shown to be weak and unphilosophical
172 CHAPTER VII.
Predestination defended. Sect. I.-The grace of God distinguishing-Arminian doctrines quite subversive of the grace of God
175 SECT. 11.- Opposition to Calvinism originates in erroneous ideas of liberty and free agency
186 Sect. III.-Election and reprobation more formally defended, and the attacks of the most eminent Anti-Calvinists repelled 205
CHAPTER VIII. The Perseverance of the Saints' defended
Creeds and Confessions defended
Objections to Dr. Bruce's mode of managing the con
troversy.--Objection Ist-Abusive epithets applied to his opponents, Fanatics—Enthusiasts-Bigots.
In the controversial Sermons of the Rev. Dr. Bruce, we would naturally expect fair, candid, and manly discussion. His reputation as a Divine, and celebrity as a scholar, would lead us to conclude, that he would never condescend to.excite vulgar prejudice by any of those low, mean arts, which too frequently characterise inferior controversialists. In these reasonable expectations we feel ourselves not a little disappointed. The Doctor's mode of managing the controversy appears to me, in many respects, highly exceptionable. I shall state my objections in order.
OBJECTION I. I object to those abusive epithets with which he constantly loads his opponents. Fanatics, enthusiasts, and bigots, with him are quite common appellations-appellations which, it must be confessed, are but too well calculated to foment in the minds of his hearers Pharisaic pride ; to rivet upon them the chains of their prejudice; and to inspire them with hatred, animosity, and contempt.
Whilst the Doctor charges his opponents with fanaticism, enthusiasm, &c. he probably flatters himself, that he is quite free from those odious vices. It is possible, however, that he may be mistaken. Let us examine a few of his sentiments.
In his first Sermon, (p. 6,) he assures us, that " The • humblest rustic, who is in the habit of assiduously and “seriously perusing his Bible, knows all that is known by “the wisest man upon earth of the divine nature. The “ existence, attributes, and providence of God are his daily study," &c.
Now, if all this be so, for what purpose have thousands of sermons been preached ? For what purpose have thousands of treatises been written on those subjects ?What becomes of Dr. Clarke's famous demonstration of the Being and Attributes of God ? What becomes of Abernethy's Sermons ? And, above all, what becomes of Dr. Bruce's own treatise ?-that treatise on the Being and At tributes for which he expected the Aberdeen prize? Why publish volumes upon volumes on the Being and Attributes of God, when the humblest rustic knows as much of the divine nature, as the wisest man upon earth ?—What egregious trifling !
With regard to the same illiterate rustic, the Doctor assures us, that “the scenes of nature are exhibited to his “mental eye—that he is taught the benevolent uses for - which they were designed ; and how they demonstrate - the wisdom, power, and goodness of their Creator-and “ what more,” he asks, “ does the wisest philosopher know “ than this ? Make out an account of all his surplus know“ ledge, and what does it amount to ?”
Of course, Ray, Derham, Paley* and others, who wrote volumes on the wise ends and benevolent uses of the works of God, were all laborious triflers! They knew nothing more on those subjects, than the humblest rustic! Why then should the world be pestered any longer with such useless lumber? All such treatises, according to Dr. B., are quite superfluous ?
But this is not all—The Doctor's rustic is a character still more extraordinary. “ He is conversant with all the s authentic information which any man possesses, of the - conduct of Providence in the government of nations."
Indeed! And does Dr. B. mean to assert, that there is no authentic history in the world, but Scripture history? Does he mean to assert, that the histories of Rollin, Robertson, Gibbon, Mosheim, and a thousand others, give the man of letters no advantage over the rustic, in contemplat. ing the wisdom of God in the conduct of Divine Providence? A strange and novel assertion indeed !
Finally—The Doctor's rustic is not only on a level with the philosopher ; he is far above him !" He can look
* Ray's Wisdom of God in the Works of Creation. Derham's Astrotheology, and Physico-theology, and Paley's Natural Theology, are the works referred to.
“ forward to his end and destination with as much substan“ tial knowledge, and MORE confirmed assurance, than the
of letters.'' If this doctrine be true, then-Wo to learning! Down with all Academies, Colleges and Universities ! Learning is no longer a blessing but a curse! What pious parent would send his son to a College or an Academy, if convinced that, in these seminaries, no substantial knowledge can be acquired-and that a liberal education, so far from being the bandmaid of religion, would shake his son's assurance with regard to his prospects of endless glory ?*
I acknowledge, indeed, that learning, when not imbued with piety, is a dangerous thing. It has been the bane of the religious world ; and the source of almost all the errors and heresies, with which the church of God has been hitherto infested. Those “ men who have crept into the church
unawares, bringing in damnable heresies, denying the Lord that bought them,” &c. have been, generally, inen of learning ; but destitute of piety—"ever learning, but never “ able to come to the knowledge of the truth.”
All this, however, amounts to no proof, that ignorance is better than learning--and that a man “ should study to be
come a fool, a perfect simpleton in worldly matters," the Doctor has taught us in his second sermon.-- On the contrary, Solomon's proverbs still remain true, For the • soul to be without knowledge is not good.-Wisdom " excels folly as far as light excels darkness.”
The preference which Dr. B. gives to the illiterate rustic is not more extraordinary, than his ideas respecting the acquisition of knowledge. In page 68 he assures us, that "we are furnished by our Creator with an instinctive know"ledge of certain necessary truths, both natural and moral” -And in page 74 he asserts, "Such knowledge of the “ qualities and uses of things about us, as is necessary to " subsistence, is easily acquired by instinct, or a simple ap"plication of our corporeal senses ; such religious truths, • also, as are essential to godliness and eternal life, "readily discovered or apprehended by conscience, or learn
* In the subsequent paragraph, the Doctor speaks of " a view of creation, &c.”-a view dispersed-a vicw accumulated a view delivered. In order to prove his favourite point that the bible-reading peasant is superior to the man of letters did he really conceive it necessary to abandon his own accuiacy by making such a massacre of language? * From a divine, who assumes the right to look down with contempt on so learned, and so respectable a body, as the Synod of Ulster-(as the Doctor does in his late speech before the proprietors of the Belfast Academical Institution)—from a divine, who superciliously characterises the Ulster Synod, as having no claims either to science or literature, we would naturally expect a more favourable specimen of literary and scientific talent, than we find exhibited in the sermons under review; and particularly in the preceding quotations. What minister-what probationer—what student of the Synod of Ulster, does not know that the doctrine of innate ideas, or instinctive knowledge, is long since exploded. The veriest smatterer in metaphysics knows that the idea of acquiring knowledge by instinct is absurd. He knows that progressive improvement is utterly incompatible with instinct. He knows that conscience is a witness : he knows that conscience is a judge: and he knows also, that whatever metaphysical account may be given of it, no metaphysician was ever so foolish as to imagine that its office is-THE DISCOVERY OF TRUTH. Finally, he knows that truths can be learned by no moral faculty distinct from reasoa.
“ed from scripture by the exercise of our reason, and our “ moral faculties."
Instinctive knowledge of truths both natural and moral! Acquiring knowledge by instinct !- Discovering truth by conscience !-Learning truths, not only by reason, but by our moral faculties !—These are new things under the
In his epistle dedicatory the Doctor writes thus : « For
my own part, I am more afraid of singularity, than ambi“ tious of originality. I have always felt a dread of dealsing out my own crude conceptions for your spiritual “ nourishment; and have preferred food, that had been “ well concocted by more skilful hands,” &c.
Without waiting to inquire whether food previously concocted by other hands be most nutritive or whether hands be the proper organs of concoction-I may venture to affirm, that the passages on which I have been animadverting were never concocted by any hands but the Doctor's. Though, in the sermons under review, there is little origi. nality, yet the sentiments quoted above must be acknow: ledged to be completely original. Nobody, I presume, will be so uncharitable as to suspect, that any of those emi. " nent ministers, Haliday and his (Dr. B.'s) grandfather, “ Drennan and Brown, Mackay and Crombie,' or that any other member of the Antrim Presbytery, ever taught doctrines so unphilosophical, so hostile to learning.
Without any proof, our learned author politely stigma. tises his opponents, as fanatics and enthusiasts. With great