five-and-twenty, you will at fifty; and with the Son, and both into conjunc

He is the me the sooner you begin the better, both of those again with tion.

the believer, is main. dium of their interfor yourselves and others.


course, and the chanWe are persuaded that Mr.

nel of their communi. Griffith will forgive us for having

cation." made his volume the occasion for

There is indeed a sense in which the above proemium. It contains both Christ and the Holy Spirit are so much to benefit the mind of the

“ the medium of intercourse and Christian, so much of earnest and

communication or communion bescriptural piety, and of forcible dis- tween God and man;" but the same cussion and appeal, that we can expression used, unexplained in the readily overlook some peculiarities, same paragraph in different senses, which to our old-fashioned optics is perplexing Again, one or two are not agreeable. We have se expressions might be construed as lected one of the discourses among opposed to the doctrine that it was those least marked by this ambition precisely because Godloved” the of style, which we thought would not world that he gave his Son to die be inappropriate for a family ser- for it; as if God the Father was mon, while it affords our readers an

inexorable till Christ propitiated opportunity of judging of the volume Him.

“ Be ye reconciled to God" for themselves. We have made a few brief omissions and alterations, sence of reconciliation is attributed,

the language of Scripture : the abchiefly verbal: we say verbal, be

not to the unwillingness of God, but cause we are not clear that in one

to the unwillingness of man; and it or two places we know exactly what

requires close adherence to the exthe author's phrase was meant to

actness of scriptural phrase to conexpress. The love of antithesis is

vey the right view of the necessity sometimes too strong upon him. of the atonement, and of Christ as Thus, he says, all that is neces

a Mediator, without seeming to resary on God's part has been done for us by the work of Christ; all present God the Father in a man

ner opposed to his declared chathat is necessary on our part must be done in us by the Spirit of of beneficence ; not a tyrant to be

racter as the originating fountain Christ." What is the precise mean

placated, but a Father, devising that ing of the latter clause? If something is done in us by another, the plished in the vicarious sacrifice of

plan of mercy which was accomwords “ on our part,” as contrasted Jesus Christ. with “ God's part," seem

We have penned these slight cripointed than specific. We have ticisms, to shew the author why we omitted also the remark, that it have here and there it may be over was by that Spirit which was given cautiously) altered a word or two, without measure to Jesus that he

Our maintained communication with the remarks may, however, be further

in transcribing his sermon. Father,” because the sentence is useful, as suggesting the importance capable of an equivocal meaning, of that care which every clergyman and we are not sure that we fully should bestow in revising his disunderstand it. We have also omit

courses, that there inay be no stateted the two following assertions, ment in them which is not perfectly which occur in the same paragraph, simple, capable of being understood, because they are, verbally at least, and incapable of being misunderat variance with each other,


stood. With this observation in might perplex the family reader. The Holy Ghost

mind, our author will see why we “He (Christ Jesus) is the Spirit of inter- is the one Mediator have omitted the concluding pas

It is as course and commu- between God and sage of his discourse. nion, whereby the man ;....partaking of follows :mysterious fellow- the nature of both ship of the Father parties, he can bring “O the wondrous condescension of our


God! O the ingenuity of his compassion! The discourse which we have transthe delicacy of bis solicitude ! Call up cribed furnishes, as we have said, a within your minds every image that can fair sample of his volume, both in docsentiment that can animate the soul; trine and in style. Occasional obscucombine these results in one accumulated rity, whether in particular passages whole: such are the complicated pledges of the efficacious intermediation of Christ;

or in the general structure of his comsuch the complicated blessedness of those positions, is a fault against which he who trust in him." p. 90.

has to guard; but it is a fault which A passage like this, beard from is easily remediable by due attenthe pulpit, or even cursorily perused tion to simplicity--that golden exin print, may appear striking; but cellence of writing and preaching, ask the hearer or reader what was simplicity; and true simplicity is not the exact idea which he carried alien to profound thought, elegant away from results in one accumu- diction, lucid arrangement, or the mulated whole, combined of every highest elevation of eloquence and image that can represent effectual in- feeling. But it may be right to reterference and every sentiment that mark that we do not mean mock can animate the soul, and these simplicity; for mock simplicity is results, moreover, forming compli. the veriest bathos. We sometimes cated pledges and complicated meet with instances of it in authors blessedness. It had not been diffic who ought to know better, and in cult to convey the idea probably in. whom it is sheer affectation. It is tended by the author if he had not frequently akin to another common gone out of his course—we were mistake, that vulgarity is simplicity, going to say to Chalmerize it. Per- and that an ungentlemanly style is haps we may add, as we are upon the most striking and intelligible. the point of verbal criticism, that in Archbishop Tillotson, to shew that revising a sermon many words must we ought to believe the mysteries be given up, which in the act of of revelation though we cannot comcomposing appeared to flow in most prehend them, tells us that we eat felicitously. “Ingenuity" and "de. and drink every day without being licacy,” might he felt by the writer able to demonstrate that our baker, of the above passage, on revision, or brewer, or cook does not put to be not sufficiently reverent as poison into our bread, or meat, or applied to God. “ Interference” beer. Such a passage must disgust sounds to an uneducated ear not in every auditor who has received an its neuter classical sense of interpo- education above that of a village sition, but colloquialized into med- pauper, and the illustration would dling; and “ intermediation” is have been quite as striking without neither an English nor a theological the vulgarism. The same remark word. In endeavouring to avoid applies to the practice of modernizcommon-place writing there is often ing Scripture language and allusions, danger of mistaking novel words or Wits have jested about the pennycombinations of them for new ideas; post office of Jerusalem;" yet some as if an architect, wishing to be ori- discourses from the pulpit are nearly ginal, should choose bricks of shapes as incongruous in their associations. and sizes different to those in com- A highly respectable and pious clermon use; instead of employing the gyman, we remember, in his pubsame materials as his neighbours, lished funeral sermon for the late and exhibiting his skill in the merits Duke of York, taking for his text, of his design.

“ They buried Abner in Hebron, It would have been ungracious to and the king lifted up his voice and our author to have offered these wept at the grave of Abner, and all bomely suggestions, if there had not the people wept,” begins his disbeen sufficient of what is valuable in course with telling us that “the hishis pages to enable him to bear them. tory of the text is most affecting and distressing. The commander-in-chief Christian, and perhaps even verge is hailed by a brother officer; He- upon doctrinal incorrectness. bron was about the same distance But enough of these subordinate from Jerusalem as Windsor is from though not unimportant points. We London! The passage before us shall break off with a quotation on represents the royal son of Jesse higher matter; namely, the followappearing as chief mourner." Ano- ing, from the excellent discourse ther eloquent preacher, in a sermon on “ faith the source of heavenlydelivered at the Assizes before the mindedness:” Judges, since published, opens his

“ And O then, brethren! let me close subject (Acts xxiv. 25) with saying, with this one important direction for re“ In the year sixty, or thereabouts, sisting the temptations of the flesh, and of there occurred in the city of Jeru. the world, and of the devil, and walking salem a very serious riot, which still erect amidst them with all the holy

dignity of a Christian man !--namely, Seek proceeded to so great a degree of communion with God, by faith. Never, violence that it became necessary never will you overcome the world by to call in the military to suppress it.” mere resolve, and struggle, and endeavour Surely this is the affectation of sim- its toils are far too closely twined around

you to be broken by your utmost force; plicity, and is any thing but simple. rather raise your thoughts, your feelings,

But to return from this digression: your desires, gradually, almost perhaps we would not reduce all preachers imperceptibly, above them. It is with us to one style, and what may in one

as with an infant mind. The vision of

the better must beguile us from the worse. be artificial may in another be na- Set before an infant some attractive obtural; but simplicity becomes all. ject; it will forget immediately the toy it Contrast two such writers as Cecil holds : it drops unnoticed from its grasp. and Dr. Chalmers: both are admir: the world ! Faith occupies us with a fa

Brethren! faith unlooses our grasp from able in their way, but

how different! ther's love, and satisfies us with a Father's The former strikes off his matter at smile, and sets before us high and heavenly a heat; shoots, like the Parthian, things; and even while we know it not, flying, and scarcely pauses to see

our hold upon the earth is weakening, and whether his arrows have taken ef- from our embrace. Would that I could

we are letting it fall with all its paltriness fect. The latter presses on, pursues win the young, the gay, and the aspiring closely, allows no quarter, returns

to try this method of deliverance ! to look to the charge after every pause, the mere paste of earth, to the bright reali

off for a moment from the base imitations, refreshed with new strength, and ties, the splendid jewels of Heaven. Why, dealing repeated blows. Cecil's there is not one single thing, brethren, “Remains” furnish admirable spe. which most attracts you in the world, but cimens of Cossack fighting; while 1 can shew you it in all its fullness in reliChalmers's sermons are a more than gion; for, let me ask, What is it makes

you love the things of earth? is it for Macedonian phalanx : if you evade themselves, or for the feelings they produce the first onset, you are soon over- within your own minds ? for the sense of powered by the mass, and pressure, joy and hilarity, the sense of power and and concentration of successive ranks deur, the sense of satisfaction and of ease,

possession, the sense of dignity and granof conflicting warriors. Yet both, which you find they can in some degree to our idea, are simple and natural; excite in you? I believe there is not one but it is their own simplicity and thing in all the treasures of riches, honour, nature, which could not be imitated which' worldly minds can contrive-that

power, pleasure—in all the infinite variety without being forced and unnatural. can do more than minister-(and O how

Simplicity of style, we might have poorly, how insufficiently, how transiently added, has also another excellence, minister !) to one or other of these sen

sations. Well, then, I will change the that it is usually connected with

causes and you shall then have these effects, higher qualities ; whereas the effort these same effects, but raised to all their to produce effect is too often pro. fullness and stability: the joy of God's ductive of paradoxes, exaggerations, God's Spirit ; the dignity of God's child and startling assertions, which great and heit; the satisfaction, the ease, the ly puzzle and distress the humble peace that passeth understanding, of God's


friend and favourite! And now, then, sorrow, the descendant of Adam where is the

world, with all its blandish- and Abraham, who yet was posments? It has stolen heavily away! So sessed of the attributes of the Lord long as you are in this heavenly frame of mind, it cannot choose but stea away: it God, the eternal and unchangeable has no hold upon you : it has nothing to Jehovah. Here then we might offer you, no bait to set before you--no- fairly and confidently rest assured: thing that you

have not got already in your that we have found him of whom therefore; it is overcome ; and this has Moses and the Prophets did write, been the victory whereby you conquered the root and offspring of David, the it, your faith - your faith, which brought mighty God, as well as “the Son you near to God, and led you up to holy

given elevation !" pp. 208–211.

as an expiation for human transgression.

But we have further evidence.

We have the New Testament as DR. P. SMITH'S SCRIPTURE TESTI

well as the Old: we have the writings of Evangelists and Apostles as

well as of Prophets; and these have (Concluded from p. 511.)

testified of the sufferings and glories In resuming our notice of Dr. of Christ, and completed the last Smith's elaborate work, we find the links in that golden chain of argu. second and third volumes so closely ment which extends from Genesis filled with remarks and criticisms to Revelations ; from Moses the upon a great variety of passages of prophet to John the divine ; from Scripture bearing upon his subject, Adam to Jesus Christ. To this that it would be tedious and im- vast field of interesting and imporpracticable to follow up his detail : tant research our respected author we shall therefore chiefly confine now directs his investigations. ourselves to an outline of his general The first chapter relates, as we plan, interweaving a few valuable have stated, to the miraculous birth extracts.

of our blessed Lord. Objections The second volume is devoted to have been urged against the initial an inquiry respecting the information portions of St. Matthew and St. to be obtained concerning the person Luke, relative to this subject, as of Christ, from the narratives of the respects the citations from the Old Evangelical history, and our Lord's Testament; the facts related ; and own assertions and intimations : the alleged want of reference to the third, to the statements of the those facts in the subsequent parts Apostles on the same momentous of the New Testament. But, as Dr. question.

Smith justly observes, it is contrary The former of these lines of ar- to the principles of sound criticism gument comprises dissertations on

to reject, as spurious, parts of the the following points; the miraculous works of an author, which rest upon conception; the office and testimony the same adequate ground of exof John the Baptist; the declarations, ternal evidence as the remainder ; intimations, and admissions, of our unless there are undeniable internal Lord himself; his real humanity, proofs of interpolation or alteration. with its characters and affections ; No such proofs, we are bold to say, and, lastly, the ideas of the Apostles can be fastened upon the chapters on the subject during his life. so vehemently objected to. What

Dr. Smith had before considered it is that would amount to such a the predicted characteristics of the proof can indeed only be decided Messiah from the Old Testament; upon by the merits of any individual and it is sufficient for adequate proof case as it arises. Dr. Smith, we to shew that to Jesus of Nazareth, remember, thought the internal and him alone, these characteristics evidence against the inspiration of apply. He only was the man of the Song of Solomon, combined

pp. 7-9.

perhaps with some alleged Haws in suspicion of what some would call orthe external evidence, strong proof thodox, predilections ; have given their against the claims of that portion disputed portions of Matthew and Luke.”

most decided suffrage in favour of the of the canon ; the Socinian, the Neologian, and others, think the

The objection as to the miraculous same of the opening portions of the birth of our Saviour not being urged narratives of Matthew and Luke: by the other Evangelists, or by the but we see not, in either case, how Apostles, may be met by the reply the portion objected to can be dis- that it could not be adduced by carded without affecting other parts them in proof of the truth of Chrisof the compacted building. If we tianity, which could only appeal set aside the Canticles, how can we to miracles to which there was prove that any other book is Divine intrinsic testimony ; whereas this which rests its claim on similar required the testimony of other mi. grounds of external evidence? If racles to ensure conviction. But we reject the controverted portions Christianity being believed on other of the Gospels, how can we rely evidence, this became a part of the upon the proofs that apply to the facts acknowledged, and it appears residue?

to us and we think not from preDr. Smith remarks as follows, judice, but from fair convictionupon some of the objections to that it is implied and taken for these passages.

granted throughout the whole of “ The internal difficulties are capable the New Testament. Dr. Smith of being disposed of, to a candid and thinks there is “one passage which reasonable satisfaction. The citations from the Old Testament are rather of the fact ;” namely, Heb. viii. 2,

appears to carry an implication of of a descriptive application to the events, compared with ix. 11, where our than direct prophecies. Such applications Lord's human nature is represented have been always common, not only among by the external “ tabernacle, which the Jews, but with every other nation the Lord pitched, and not man," possessing any literature. So we every day apply to observable events, striking and which was “not made with sentences of our own poets. The facts hands." Yet this “one passage” related have been solidly vindicated, and is to our minds not more full or the objections to their credibility answered. The chronological difficulties strong than the general tone in have been obviated ; and some solution which the New Testament writers may be given to the difficulty which arises speak of our Lord ; the whole refrom the want of reference to these facts ferring to him as one who possessed in the succeeding parts of the Christian attributes altogether peculiar to Scriptures.

"The positive evidence for the authen- himself, and viewing him as the ticity of the passages is complete. All Messiah, with a tacit reference, as manuscript authority that exists is in their we conceive, to that very prophecy favour: and equally so is that of the an

which our author gives up as a cient versions. Christian writers who lived within a hundred years of the events, direct prediction of this miracle, mention the facts as of undoubted cer- that a virgin should bear a Son, and tainty, and quote the passages as parts of that Jesus of Nazareth was this accredited Scripture. Celsus, the able and acute adversary of Christianity , who mysterious being, “ Immanuel

, God flourished in the second century and with us.” The cession of this imOrigen, in his reply to him; both consider portant text, as not applicable to the history of the miraculous conception the Messiah, except in a secondary as an unquestionable part of the Christian records. So also does the Jewish slan

sense, greatly unnerves our author's derer who wrote the Toldoth-Jesu. In reasoning on this mysterious submodern times, the most distinguished ject; and to our minds there is Scripture-critics, who with all the aids of something unsatisfactory in much every kind of learning that could bear of this division of his argument. upon such inquiries, have devoted their time and

talents to these researches ; and He does not appear to us to be so who have been the most remote from any confident as to the effect even of

« ForrigeFortsett »