« PrécédentContinuer »
to Mr. Pitt: who can endure such a fellow? The other has given dead thrust to Gibbon, and a living blow to Payne: away with him a-la lanterne. But Dr. Toulmin!-what an EXCELLENT DISCOURSE He has effectually corrected a prevalent and mischievous mistake: the candid and attentive reader will not be surprized that this sermon is published in consequence of earnest request. Such is the language of the Monthly Review.
Let us, Sir, put on our spectacles, and look a little nearer at this excellent discourse. I am no child, to be led by the nose by a Critic, and do not always coincide in opinion even with Aristotle himself. Let us first contemplate Dr. Toulmin's orthography. We find, . It cometh from, it includes and chiefly signifieth, &c.' Again, Jehovah addresseth himself, he expatiates, &c. Again, It is the name which giveth confirmation, and it characterises, &c.' Again, the seas, and whatsoever passeth the paths thereof, he created, and He governs. Such a multitude of instances of the confusion of the old and new modes of expressing the third person of the present tense, could not have been accidental; and they show, that whatever Dr. Toulmin's attainments may be, he is at least not very correct in the English Grammar. Are such blunders to be found in Prettyman and Hurdis? Having slipped so often in his English, it is clear that Dr. T. is right in the only Greek word which he has used? In one of the three Hebrew words which he has quoted, there is unquestionably an erratum. What an excellent writer!
Let us next examine his doctrine, Mr. Editor. It is acknowledged, upon the very face of the sermon, that it was preached at the Chapel in Essex-street, that is, at the UNITARIAN Chapel. Dr. Toulmin, therefore, is a supporter of that damnable doctrine and heresy, not of the Church of Rome, but of the school of Cracow, de Jesu Chrisio servatore; that abominable heresy, of which the Christian world was guiltless almost sixteen hundred years; which was generated in the hot brain of the turbulent schismatic Faustus Socinus; and which, widethroated as he is, is too gross even for a Papist to swallow; that heresy, I will add, which has found fewer followers, than any heresy started in these latter times of degenerate Christianity; the heresy, that Jesus was mere man. This circumstance it is, Sir, which makes his sermon appear to be an EXCELLENT DISCOURSE in the estination of the Monthly Reviewers. For we need not to be informed, Mr. Editor, though our readers may, that the Socinian error has long been a favourite with them. Other instances of their blind attachment to it might be produced; but it is sufficient for my purpose, that their critique upon Dr. Toulinin is a modern proof, and that I can readily produce an ancient one from their Review for February, 1754, P. 147. There, an author having asserted that the DIVINE WORD did lead a miserable life, and did undergo a painful death, the Monthly Reviewer thought proper to remark, that it was absolutely incompatible s with supreme Deity to be capable of suffering and death. I cannot refer
to the passage, without observing upon it, that we have the testimony of an Evangelist that the wORD WAS MADE FLESH. And if we are compelled, by the credibility of this heavenly messenger, to believe that the word was made flesh, it seems to me to follow of
course, that the same DIVINE WORD was capable of suffering and death. It is an inference such as plain common sense would have drawn; and there hardly needed an addition to the narrative, to satisfy us that it was possible. The Monthly Reviewers, therefore, are such now, Sir, as they ever have been, quales ab incepto and Dr. Toulmin is an excellent writer with them, because he is a Socinian. The manifest drift and design of his fermon, is to elevate the title of the fupreme being to the utmost poffible height of human conception. Every attempt to give sublimity and dignity to the name of God is commendable; but an endeavour of that kind is not to be engaged in, with a finister intention of depreffing the fon, and robbing him of that glory in which he has been invefted from eternity. Yet fuch is manifeftly Dr. Toulmin's defign. He has four times directed our attention to that expreffion of fcripture, the God and father of our Lord Jefus Chrift; for the purpose, no doubt, of inculcating a perfuafion, that fince the Lord of Hofts was God (as well as father) of our Lord Jefus Christ, the fupreme dignity of the latter, as maintained by Christians in general, is erroneous. "This name, indeed, involves in it, (fays he) the idea of fupremacy above all earthly and heavenly powers, above even the name of Jefus, the Lord of all, who hath, otherwife, a name above every name." That Jefus is inferior to Jehovah, as touching his manhood, I will readily concede to Dr. Toulmin; but more, I believe cannot be allowed to him, by any man who ftudies the fcriptures, with that fingleness of heart, which divests itself of every prejudice. Dr. Toulmin himself, while attempting to drown the divinity of the fon in the bright effulgence of the father, has unintentionally given it a fplendor which is infupportable to the This bigh name, fays he, the Lord of Hofts, is due to the being who created universal nature. And who, let us afk him, created univerfal nature? Does not St. Paul expressly lay of Chrift, by HIM were all things created that are in beaven, and that are in earth, vifible and invifible: all things were created by HIM, and for HIM; and HE is before all things, and by HIM all things confift?* And does not the lame divine writer affure us, that it is to the son God fpeaks, when he fays, THY throne, O GOD, is for ever and ever: THOU, LORD, in the beginning baft laid [the foundation of the earth, and the beavens are the works of THINE hands? If then this high name be due to the being who created universal nature, it must follow, from Dr. Toulmin's own words, that it is due to Chrift. Yes, to bim is the name due: it is bis prerogative: it is bis glory: it is bis diftinguifbing character, and exalts his name above every name. I appeal to the fermon itfelf, Mr. Editor, as manifeftly juftifying this inference. Nevertheless, I do not maintain that this high name is to be applied to Chrift; that is, I do not maintain that the fcriptures warrant the application. Great pains have been wafted by Dr. Eveleigh, to prove that Chrift is once denominated Jebovab. Upon my mind his arguments have left no conviction. And if there be a paffage in fcripture which will juflify our ftiling Jefus
* Coloff. I. xvi. 17.
+ Hebrews, I. viii. 10.
the Lord of Hofts, or Jehovah Sabaoth, I am yet to be made ac quainted with it. He is certainly named, by the prophet, THE MIGHTY GOD and the EVERLASTING FATHER; and he has pronounced himself to be the KING of Ifrael; titles, which approach. fo near to the high name we are dwelling upon, that it feems to be inextricably involved in them. It is to be remarked alfo, that Chrift frequently defcribes himself, as prefiding in fuch elevated fituations of power and great glory, that we are ready to exclaim, verdy thou art Jeb vab. That a fimilar conclufion was frequently drawn from his words and actions, by those who conftantly fur rounded him, cannot be doubted, when we confider the strong expreffions which they made ufe of. But to give to him the high name on which Dr. Toulmin difcourfes, they well knew would expofe them to the fevereft punishment. If they refrained from inferting among their numerical characters the two Hebrew letters, which, when combined, were expreffive of the name of God-I fay, if they refrained from inferting these letters among their figures, that God's name might not be filently and accidentally profaned; it is not to be wondered at, that they never applied to Jefus the title of Jehovah, or Jehovah Sabaoth, by open defign. But I haften to defcend from this awful difcuffion; which I believe is, and which I think ought always to be, interdicted by the statutes of the land, that a fubject so holy may not be hourly subject to violation from the fhallow and incompetent reasonings of infufficient man; especially when his mind is not informed to the full extent of what is revealed, and while he irreverently detracts from his Saviour attributes which better information must have compelled him to alJow. If at the close of a paragraph which I have written with a trembling hand, but with a firm and affured underftanding, I might be permitted to turn and fimile at Dr. Toulmin, I should say exultingly to him and his Monthly Reviewer, what an excellent divine!
Let us now confider Dr. Toulmin's merits as a critic. And here let us previously obferve, that all language whatever has had its origin from earth. The words by which we understand one another, and all their correfpondent fymbols upon paper, have been coined and invented by man, for the use of himself, and his fellow-creatures. Every image, therefore, which is delivered over to language, and at the repetition of fome particular found is again revived in the mind, was originally taken by the human eye from the visible objects of this world, and in a manner fet to mufic, ly being married to certain letters and syllables, and to that tone of expreffion which represents it and them. Whatever word, therefore, is used, muft be referred to this original interchange of found for fenfe, if we wish to determine its meaning with critical accuracy. Suppole thenthat a divine messenger should come down from heaven; he can no otherwife be understood by the inhabitants of this world, but by adopting these tones and their corresponding images; that is, by fpeaking the language of man. If he adopts this language, it is abfolutely neceflary that we believe him to make use of it, always with a strict reference to that imagery from which it was borrowed, We are
not to go up into heaven for a gloffary, and a tribe of invisible images, which are to let down the fubject matter of his communication to the level of our capacities. This being granted, I contend that the plain and obvious interpretation of Hosts, both in Hebrew and English, according to the current language of this world, is ARMIES. The Lord of Hofls, therefore, is the Lord of armies, the Lord of thofe armies which men bring into the field; whenever it ftands alone, unaccompanied by any additional expreffion, pupofely used to give it a metaphorical and figurative turn. Confequently, whenever we read of the Lord of Hofts in fcripture, it is our duty, unless admonished to the contrary, to believe it to mean (as the Pfalmift has explained it) the Lord firong and mighty,
THE LORD MIGHTY IN BATTLE.
I dwell the more particularly on this explanation, Mr. Editor, because the Monthly Reviewer has advanced a step farther than Dr. Toulmin, and afferted, that fo to understand this high name, is a prevalent and mischievous mistake; an error, which it might have been expected that Chriftian minifters, instead of countenancing, would apply themselves to rectify. He has added, that this name of God bas been greatly mistaken and abufed, when it has been fuppofed to teach us to look up to him as the patron of war. Dr. Toulmin is not fo rash. He allows that the word Sabaoth, or Hofts, comes from a root which means to affemble in orderly ranks, and that it sometimes fignifies militaries bodies of men. He fays, in another place, The word tranflated bost, doth in one inftance describe all the tribes of Ifrael led out of Egypt, and in another, the armies of that people.' He quotes alfo from Benfon, that "it is an obfervation of the Hebrews, that when God doth mercy to the world, he is called Jehovah: but when he WARRETH he is called Sabaoth, LORD of HOSTS." In a' fourth place he admits, that the title includes God's providence as God of the armies of Ifrael; that it includes his power to mufter the boft for the battle, to enroll the ftreng ones of the earth as his warriors, and to gather together the kingdoms and the nations to execute his anger. In a word, he allows that it includes God's agency in making wars to cafe, in breaking the bow and fnapping the fpear afunder, and in burning the chariot in the fire. The error, therefore, the prevalent and mischievous mistake at which the Monthly Reviewer points his finger (if it be an error and a mistake) is not corrected, nor is it in a way to be corrected by Dr. Toulmin.
But is is no error; whatever may be thought of it by that fage adept in what he ftiles the divinity of the Old Teftament. The LORD is a MAN OF WAR, faid the lawgiver himself, in the very beginning. At a very early period, he went forth out of Seir, and marched out of the field of Edom. He is afterwards fublimely defcribed, as putting on righteoufnefs for a breast plate, and placing the helmet of falvation upon his head. The garments of vengeance are his clothing and he is clad with zeal as a cloak. He takes Judah for his bow and Ephraim for his arrow, and makes a fword of the fons of Sion: he fays to Ifrael, thou art my battle-axe and weapons of war with thee will I break in pieces the nations. He brings forth the chariot and the horfe, the army and the power; he lifts up an enfign on the mountains.
he blows a trumpet to collect the inhabitants of the world together. He even roars from on high, he utters his voice from his holy habitation, he gives a bout against the inhabitants of the earth. He makes his onfet in whirlwinds of the fouth, he rides upon the horfes and chariots of falvation, he is mounted upon a fwift cloud. His bow is made naked, his arrows go forth as the lightning; the fun and moon ftad ftill at the light of them, and at the fbining of bis glittering fpear. He marches through the land in indignation, be walks through the feas he bebolds and drives afunder the nations, he bakes his band over them, and they become timorous as women. The flain of the Lord are many. For bis indignation is upon all nations, bis fury upon all their armies, be des vers them to the flaughter; their flain are caft out, and the mountains are melted with their blood.
Let the Monthly Reviewer, by help of his concordance, refer to all the paffages which are here compreffed, and impartially decide, whether the divinity of the Old Teftament will any longer fuffer him to doubt, that the Lord of Hofts, is the Lord of ARMIES, in its first and moft general sense. But when I call upon him to allow fo much, let him not fuppofe that I will fuffer him to adopt the gra tuitous affumption of Dr. Toulmin, that by means of this interpretation, men are led to conceive, that in the title of the Lord of Hofts, there is a fanction to political fchemes of hoftility and bloodshed, Very weak, indeed, must be that understanding, which could draw fuch a conclufion. The abfurdity even of Voltaire did not advance fo far: nor can I be perfuaded that it ever entered into the mind of any cool and difpaffionate reader of the fcriptures, to entertain sa low and contracted an idea of his Maker. From the heart of a Socinian, accustomed to derogate from the dignity of the fon, un worthy notions of the father may originate; but they who believe in the divinity of the Son, are in no danger of degrading the Father to the level of the heathen god of war. The well-informed examiner, who is not a bigot to the anti-chriftian doctrines of Socinianism, will perceive in the title of the Lord of Hofts, a title of great dignity, and of great comfort. He will be fenfible, that from the beginning, nation has been divided against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. He will know, that man is a creature who delights He will recollect, that aras of univerfal peace (if aras of that kind have exifted) have been fhort and foon interrupted. He will almost be cf opinion, that the state of warfare is a fate of nature. But, ready as man is to fhed blood, ready as kings are to rife sp, and rulers to take counfel together, he will be fenfible that there is one in heaven, who has announced himself to be the King of Kings, and Lord of armies. Under that title, he will perceive that his God is no filent and indifferent fpectator of the commotions of this world. He will feel that nothing is left to the decifion of chance, but that there is an author of fuccefs as well as of defeat. He will have often remarked, that when the probabilities of victory were peculiarly in favour of the ftronger fide, an iffue attended their exertions which no fagacity could forefce, and for which no philofophy could account. The divine interference has been to him, G
NO. XXXI. VOL. VIŅI,