Images de page
PDF
ePub

REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.

Essays on some of the Peculia. that his mind is well stored on a

rities of the Christian Religion. vast variety of subjects; and that By RICHARD WHATELY, D. D. it is impossible for him to write Principal of St. Alban's Hall, any thing which will not contain Oxford, and late Fellow of Oriel much from which every reader may College. Oxford. Svo. pp. xvi. derive instruction. He is also disand 285.

tinguished by remarkable honesty Essays on some of the Difficulties (for we must do him the justice to

in the Writings of St. Paul, and believe him honest, much as we in other Parts of the New Testa- differ from many of his opinions) ment. By the Same. London: in his search after truth, and equal

1830. 8vo. pp. xxiv. and 360. courage in avowing his conclusions: A View of the Scripture Revelations while, at the same time, his style

concerning a future State; laid of writing and mode of illustration before his Parishioners. By a pu the reader at once in possesCountry Pastor. London : sion of his meaning, and are hardly 1829. 12mo. pp. 322.

surpassed in perspicuity and force,

except by Dr. Paley. In one reThe name of Dr. Whately does spect, indeed, he differs from that not need to be introduced to our celebrated writer,—that, his publi. readers. We reviewed his Bampton cations being more various, and Lectures, on the Use and Abuse of succeeding each other with greater Party Feeling in Religion, in our rapidity, he does not enter so far volume for 1823; and offered an into detail upon each subject, and opinion, that after the publication of therefore does not cast so broad and that volume he would stand justly strong a light on every object which eminent for skill in moral anatomy. he touches. There is a defect, also, We have no reason now to retract to which bold and original reasonthis sentiment. But his publica. ers are peculiarly liable, and from tions have since become too nume- which we do not think that Dr. rous, and have extended over too Whately is by any means exempt : wide a field, to be fully noticed in our for the very clearness of their pages. Some of the works, however, conceptions on any subject often the titles of which are above specified, tempts them to think that they see have already been adverted to by the whole of it, and hinders them some of our correspondents; having from suspecting, that there is any given rise to animadversion in re- thing still behind, which has not spect to a few of the topics dis- been observed. To say nothing at cussed in them. Indeed, not a few present of our author's theological of our readers may be disposed lucubrations, we might refer for an to think that the volumes before example to his elements of logic. us not only trace peculiarities in Logic, according to him, is a me. the Christian system, and point out thod of analysing that mental prodifficulties in the writings of Saint cess which must invariably take Paul, but may furnish occasion place in all correct reasoning: and for other writers to detect diffi- the principle on which his whole culties and peculiarities in the system of logic is built, is thus system of Dr. Whately.

stated by himself: “In every inBut, however this may be, it must stance in which we reason, in the be allowed by all, that Dr. Whately strict sense of the word (that is, is an ingenious and independent make use of arguments, whether for thinker, and a powerful reasoner; the sake of refuting an adversary, or

It springs

of conveying instruction, or of satis- ligion, except indeed the Mohamfying our own minds on any point); medan, which is stolen from it, even whatever may be the subject we are pretends to truth; and the illustration engaged on, a certain process takes of that position by a reference to place in the mind, which is one and the writings of the ancients, is well the same in all cases, provided it be worthy of attention. So, too, are all correctly conducted." That method the author's remarks on the duty of or process he has most ably deve- a strict adherence to truth by those loped and analysed. Yet it is cer- who profess it, and on the subter. tain that a vast portion of the sub- fuges by which that strict duty is jects on which men reason-nay, too often eluded. We quote the a portion on which more reasoning is following excellent paragraph from expended than on any other—is al- this essay. together omitted in this theory: for “ One who would cherish in himself there is no class of subjects on

an attachment to truth, must never allow

himself either to advance any argument, which men make use of arguments,

or to admit and acquiesce in any when for the sake of satisfying their own advanced by another, which he knows or minds or those of others on any suspects to be unsound or fallacious; howpoint, more constantly than the ever true the conclusion may be to which

it leads,-however convincing the argucalculation of probabilities founded

ment may be to those it is addressed to, on presumptive evidence. A mer- and however important it may be that chant reasons upon the probable they should be convinced. success of an adventure, and em.

from, and it will foster and increase a

want of veneration for truth; it is an barks in it or declines it accord.

affront put on the Spirit of Truth;' it is a ingly: and the greater number of hiring of the idolatrous Syrians to fight the actions of human life are go- the battles of the Lord God of Israel. verned by this sort of calculations,

And it is on this ground that we should in which the mind is swayed and adhere to the most scrupulous fairness of

statement and argument: he who believes determined either way by a balance that sophistry will always in the end prove of conflicting probabilities. Now injurious to the cause supported by logic, if it profess to analyse that probably right in that belietoj tout by it be

for that reason that he abstains from it,mental process which must invaria

if he avoid fallacy, wholly, or partly, bly take place in all correct reason- through fear of detection,-it is plain he ing, ought to teach us the principles is no sincere votary of truth.” Difficulties, on which we may decide rightly, safely, or wisely on such subjects : At the same time, there is one and yet this whole field of inquiry is view of truth, in its connexion with left untouched, because the problems our holy religion, and that too the it raises cannot besolved by the Aris. most important view of it, which totelic method of syllogism ; which, passes unnoticed, or at least is not in fact, applies only to methods of prominently brought forward, in this demonstration, not of uncertainty. essay. The Christian religion is not

We pass now to one of the essays only true ; it is not merely the only in the volumes before us. There true religion : it is The Truth in a is an exceedingly valuable one, on still higher sense than this; for it Truth, the first in the volume on embodies the great and only truth the Difficulties of St. Paul, which it is which is able to save the soul. It very satisfactory to peruse; because is in this sense that Saint Paul it is pleasing to see right principles speaks of it, when he says to the inculcated on a subject too much Thessalonians, “God hath from the neglected in practice, and often beginning chosen you to salvation, niisstated even in theory. The essay through sanctification of the Spirit opens with representing truth as and beliet' of the truth :" where it is the distinguishing characteristic of not merely an honest disposition to our religion ; not only as it alone is abide by that wbich is true, that is true, but that no other form of re. meant, but a cordial acceptance of

pp. 41, 42.

that revealed truth which the Gospel mere honesty of purpose, but a discloses, and an entire reliance upon further principle, which St. Paul deit, as constituting the only solid hope scribes at large under the complex of a sinner. It is in this sense that phrase of "the love of the truth, our Saviour declared before Pilate, that they might be saved.” He who “ To this end was I born, and for values, not truth in general only, this cause came I into the world, but “the truth,” in this sense, will that I should bear witness unto the not only acquiesce in it when it is truth: Every one that is of the discerned, but will be unsatisfied truth heareth my voice:” where and miserable when he falls short he not only affirms that his revela- of it. Yet this is a view of the truth tion is true, and capable of being which is not contemplated in Dr. substantiated by evidence, but that Whately's essay, though it is en. the reality of his spiritual kingdom, titled “On the Love of Truth,” and however overlooked and unacknow. enters into the connexion of truth ledged by the world, is yet a truth with religion. The love of truth is of sufficient moment to bring him an abstract quality, without which down from heaven for the purpose the love of this truth cannot exist: of establishing, ratifying, and reveal. but it may itself exist where the ing it. Therefore, the Truth, as that truth of the Gospel is not loved, bephrase is used in the New Testament, cause it is neither known nor deis not only a claim on behalf of the sired. Christian faith, in opposition to false After an essay on the Importance religions, which do not even pretend of studying the Writings of Saint to be true; but it always carries Paul, the author proceeds to the with it an assertion of that cardinal Doctrine of Election. On this subdoctrine of Revelation, according to ject he concurs with those who hold which the mercy and justice of God the election of nations to be arare shewn to harmonize with each bitrary, but that of individuals conother, and the very truth of his tingent; while he understands the nature is pledged for the pardon of term to mean an election to helps repenting sinners. It prefers a claim, and privileges, not to rewards. We therefore, not only to an honest pur- quote his own reasoning upon it. pose of heart to follow truth where

“ Were the Israelites, who were eviever it leads, a purpose which would dently God's Called, Elect, or Chosen, be satisfied by contending for na- Holy and Peculiar people, were they, I tural truths; as the Newtonian sys. say, thus chosen arbitrarily, or not? Moses tem, for instance; or political truths; lection of them was arbitrary. He often

clearly and repeatedly states that this se. or truth in any other department of reminds them that they were not thus knowledge, all which are exceed- singled out from the midst of other naingly valuable and important;—but tions for their own righteousness, since The Truth, when it is another name they were a stiff-necked people, but of

God's free goodness, who will have for the Gospel, as is often the case mercy on whom He will have mercy, and in the New Testament, appeals to will be gracious to whom he will be that hunger and thirst after right- gracious ;' and because He had a favour eousness, that earnest conviction of unto them.' And with respect to their

fathers, though Abraham indeed was tried, the necessity of discovering some and found faithful and obedient, there was method for an acceptable return to certainly an arbitrary choice made of Jacob God, that search after spiritual truth, in preference to his elder brother Esau ; or, in other words, after the certainty which, indeed, is one of the cases referred of the Divine salvation, which will while the children were yet in the womb,

to by the Apostle, who remarks, that, not allow a conscious sinner to rest and had done neither good nor evil, it till he has found it. It is therefore was declared by the oracle of God, that called, not Truth only, but “the”

the elder should serve the younger.' Nor Truth; and the habit of mind which selection of the children of Jacob have

again (it should be observed) could that is necessary to apprehend it, is not been decreed with reference to their fore

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

seen faith and obedience; since we know moderate attention to the context would how eminently deficient they were in those plainly evince that this (whether true or qualifications ; stubborn and rebellious,- false) is very far from being revealed in continually falling into idolatry and other Scripture; but, that on the contrary, the sins,-forgetting what great things God hardening (or as some more properly had wrought for them, and undervaluing translate, the strengthening) of Pharaoh's their high privilege.

heart, must mean a judicial blindness of “ The Divine election then under the intellect.

as to his own interest, and a old dispensation was, it is manifest, en- vain and absurd self-confidence, which tirely arbitrary ; but, in the second place, induced him to hold out against Omniwho were the objects of it ? Evidently, potence. For it is remarkable that the the whole nation without any exception. cruelties he had practised, had all of them They were all brought out of Egypt by a taken place before any mention is made of mighty hand, and miraculously delivered God's hardening his heart. The tyrant from their enemies, and received the Di who had subjected to grievous slavery vine commandments through Moses, who and attempted to extirpate the Israelites, uniformly addressed them, not some, but could scarcely, after that, be made cruel; all,- as God's chosen, holy, and peculiar but the most unrelenting miscreant would people.

have let them go, through mere selfish “But, lastly, what was the nature of prudence, had he not been supernaturally this election of the Israelites ? To what infatuated, when he saw that they were were they thus chosen by their Almighty a snare unto him,' and that · Egypt was Ruler? Were they elected absolutely and destroyed' through the mighty plagues infallibly to enter the promised land, and inflicted on their account. to triumph over their enemies, and to live

« • The · heart' is continually employed in security, wealth, and enjoyment? Ma

by the Sacred Writers to denote the unnifestly not. They were elected to the

derstanding; as when our Lord is said to privilege of having these blessings placed

• upbraid the disciples for their unbelief within their reach, on the condition of their

and hardness-of-heart,' &c. They never, obeying the law which God had given I believe, employ oxanpoxxpoco, to signify them ; but those who refused this obe

cruelty. The same appears to have been dience, were not only excluded from the anciently the usage of our own language promised blessings, but were the objects also; of which we retain a remnant in of God's especial judgments.” Difficulties,

the expression of learning any thing by pp. 107–110.

heart. It is not our practice to discuss

Difficulties, pp. 124, 125. minutely the deep and interminable

To us this explanation appears questions involved in the above ex.

defective. We believe that most tract; and we can be well content to leave our fellow-Christians, of persons will, upon reflection, allow different sentiments on the subject,

the orinpokapdia of the Jews to have in possession of their respective been a perverseness of disposition,

rather than dulness of understandtheories, and their particular mode of interpretation, so far as they do ing. It was not because the Israel. not conflict either with the attributes ites could not comprehend the ori. of God or the responsibility of man.

ginal appointment, recorded in GeDr. Whately writes like a person ac

nesis, that Moses allowed them to quainted with the views of his op

put away their wives, but because ponents, which is not always the they were a perverse, rebellious, and, case with those who maintain his

as they are often called, a stiff. side of the argument, though at the

necked people, who would not easily same time he disposes of them rather bend to the yoke of authority, nor summarily.

could be brought to render a willing On an often-agitated passage in

obedience to a prescribed command. Exodus Dr. Whately observes :

So also the hardness of Pharaoh's

heart we take to have consisted ". The hardening of Pharaoh's heart,

neither in mere blindness to his own again, which is mentioned in Scripture, is often triumphantly appealed to, as a re

interests, nor in unfeeling cruelty, corded instance in which (according to

but in reckless obstinacy, and in a the hasty interpretation sometimes adopt- determination not to be driven out ed) God made the king of Egypt, what we call hard-hearted ; that is, cruel and

of his settled plan by a subject, but remorseless ; on purpose to display his al- to persevere in it at all hazards: mighty power upon him : whereas a very and this obstinacy of purpose the

[ocr errors]

course of the Divine dispensations of that sentence, but that, the law may be said to have confirmed, by having pointed to Jesus Christ as calling it into repeated exercise. its fulfilment, every one who beThe word heart, indeed, in Scripture lieves in him has a righteousness is not applied to the understanding which without him he could not only, but to the mind and affections: attain? Christ has accomplished the “ Thou shalt love the Lord thy end of the law, and thus wrought God with all thy heart :” “ With out a righteousness capable of being the heart man believeth unto right. imputed to every believer. Once eousness."

more: in Phil. iii. 9 St. Paul speaks Another subject treated of by of himself as disclaiming altogether Dr. Whately in this volume, is the his own righteousness which was of doctrine of imputed righteousness. the law, and yet as possessing never

The advocates of this doctrine do theless, or at least desiring to possess, not mean that the precise works of another righteousness, - namely, the Jesus Christ are ascribed to believ- righteousness which is of God by ers as if they had performed them; faith. The same truth is intimated the works themselves being personal, when white robes are given to the and incapable of being transferred, saints, in the Book of the Revelaor rendered the works of another. tion; and these robes are expressly But they mean that the righteous stated to be the righteousness of ness of Christ, which is a quality of the saints: by which emblem it is his perfect character, and of which clearly implied that the righteoushis works were at once a result and ness in which they must appear is an evidence, is imputed to them in not their own, but given. Various such a sense as if it were theirs : other passages like those just cited and of this doctrine they are far occur in the Epistles of the New from conceding that it “ is made to Testament, where we should most rest on a particular interpretation especially look for statements of the of one-single text, Rom. v. 19, 'As complete scheme of the Gospel, beby one man's disobedience many cause till the ascension of our Sawere made sinners, so by the obe. viour the mystery of salvation was dience of one shall many be made not finished. righteous.'" (Difficulties, pp. 195, The doctrine, indeed, appears to 196.)— They believe it to be stated us to lie at the foundation of the even more distinctly in other pas. Christian scheme, and not to be justsages of Scripture. Thus in Rom. ly liable to any Antinomian perveriii. 22 we find the righteousness of sion. Dr. Whately, it is true, descants God described as by faith of Jesus on the advantage which he thinks Christ given or imputed unto all, and it gives to that heresy, as follows :thence as resting upon all, them that * When we find Christ spoken of as believe. Again : “ David” (we are suffering for us and in our stead, so that

by his stripes we are healed,' though we taught, Rom. iv. 6) “ describeth cannot comprehend, indeed, this act of the blessedness of the man unto mysterious mercy, we do comprehend that whom God imputeth righteousness there is now, therefore, no condemuawithout works." What righteous

tion for them that are in Christ Jesus,' ness, then, does he impute to them? his faithful followers from suffering in their

but that his suffering in our stead exempts Not their own certainly; for by the own persons. But when men are told supposition they are unrighteous. It that the righteousness of Christ's life is must consequently be a righteous- imputed to believers, and considered as

their merit, they are startled at the want ness which is not intrinsically theirs, of correspondence of this doctrine with even the righteousness of Christ. the former, and its apparent inconsistency So too, when it is said, Rom. x. 4, with the injunctions laid upon us that “ Christ is the end of the law 'bring forth the fruits of the Spirit' unto for righteousness to every one that eth in us both to will and to do of his

everlasting salvation, because God workbelieveth,” what can be the scope good pleasure,' while we are also told CHRIST. O;vis No. 352.

2 G

to

« PrécédentContinuer »