« ForrigeFortsett »
who are his superiors in human learning Atonement, and of Grace, and ot but of the Supreme Being. If he lightly Predestination, and the present staté take in hand to explain the sacred text of of the sacred text, are points upon the word of God, to exhort his brethren, which much doubt and misappreto lay down the principles of sound doc. trine and good conduct, without having hension are wont to prevail, and thoroughly inforned bimself of all that is which should at all times be clearly necessary, he is not only blameable, but and rightly understood. They are he incurs no small risk of being accounted points which originally belong to. sinfully presumptuous in venturing to the investigation of the learned, by touch high and holy things without becoming preparation, in daring to solly
means of whose easy and familiar their parity with unconsecrated hands. expositions, they may be accomBat more than this, he makes himself an- modated to the capacities, of unswerable for an injury to the present and learned men, and may be generally eternal peace of his fellow-creatures, which improved to the removal of objec. through want of information that he ought tions to a public conformity with the to have acquired, and of cautiou that he established Church, and to the adought to have exercised, he may be instrumental in producing.
vancement of peace and cousolation “ Under the influence of feelings arising in the moments of private reflection. naturally ont of such reflections, deeply
These points are discussed by and solemnly impressed with the responsi- Mr.Strong in Six Discourses, preachbility which he incurs, and painfully sen- ed before the University of Oxford, sible of his own many deficiencies, the and now offered to the notice of anthor is aware that the work in which he well-educated men, to whose con. is engaged is of no small importance, for firmation in a Scriptural faith they it embraces the entire scheme of human redemptiun, and the whole circle of reli
are well adapted, and by whom gious obligations ; and of no ipconsider they will not be less appreciated or able difficulty-for its province is cate- approved, because Mr. Strong mogorically to affirm the truth with respect destly disclaims all pretensions to to questions, in which the wisest and the ingenuity, eloquence, or research. best of men have differed in opinion.”
They are principally intended Dr. B. is so full of his subject, • To invite the attention of the younger as sometimes to press into his ser- clergy, and more particularly of those who vice passages which have but a re are candidates for ordination, to some mote and slight bearing on the matters of great consequence, which are main point: but his anxiety to
often seriously misunderstood; and to leave nothing untouched which have sospetimes proved disgraceful to the
warn them against certain errors, which might contribute to his purpose, clerical profession, and injurious to the may plead a very sufficient apo. Christian cause.” logy. He has discharged his task with conscientious fidelity, and
The importance of the topics, the brought together documents ex
vehemence with which they are tremely interesting to those who brought into the discussion of every are studious of our ecclesiastical
day, and the ease and perspicuity history.
with which they are treated by Mr. Strong, will render the present vo. lume an acceptable summary to all
who are entering upon the study of Six Discourses, preached before the theology, and are desirous of ac- .
University of Oxford. By Tho. quiring a competent knowledge of mas Linwood Strong, B.D. of Christian truth, and have not the Oriel College, Oxford, Chaplain
means of collecting, or the leisure to the Lord Bishop of Llandaff. for consulting, more voluminous and
elaborate discourses, 158 pp. Rivingtons. 1821.
The purpose of the first Discourse The unity and integrity of the is to shew, that no countenance Christian faith, the doctrines of the is given in the Apostolical writ
ings to the propagation of discor- influenced by the noblest zeal for religion, dant articles of faith. The mind and as if they had been exempt from those of man has ever been too prone to base and malevolent passions which were, form private conceptions of religi- The words : in pretence' and in troth,' OR
in fact, the main spring of their exertions. ous truth, and if none has been
which the misinterpretation of the passage found to defevd the innocence of seems chiefly to rest, have no allusion to positive error, many have maintain the nature of the doctrines preached, but erl, that there is no offence in the relate solely to the private motive of the varieties of religious beliet. The preacher. They who preached in pretence, Scriptures are quoted without hesi. as we have already seen, were the Apostle's tation in vindication of this lati. Others the uoadulterated doctrines of the
personal enemies. They preached to tude of religious opinion, and the Gospel; but, at the same time, under preexample and authority of St. Paul tence of a zea lor religion, they gratified are alleged in proof, that the pecu- those passions which religion especially liar doctrines which are taught are
forbids. The same persons are said, in matter of little concern, if they are
the ofteenth verse, to preach Christ,'. a but collected from the word of God. phrase which is never applied, in Scripture,
without some qualification, to any but the The appeal is made to the difficult preachers of true religion. So, again, the text of the Apostle to the Philip- words in truth' do not here mean sound pians, (i. 15—18.) and Mr. Strong doctrine, in opposition to false, but a pure has rendered good service to the and honest motive, in opposition to a corChurch in proving the irrelevancy rupt one. If they are understood to signify of the appeal, hy an exact inter- parity of doctrine, the whole passage is
thrown into confusion; whereas, the Apospretation of the passage, in its con; tle's discourse, according to the other innexion with the general spirit and terpretation, is perfectly clear and natural occasion of the Epistle. The sub- in all its parts.”* P.11. stance of the exposition is thus recapitulated :
This interpretation is confirined
by the general analogy of the Scrip. “ The Apostle is speaking exclusively tures, and especially of the writings of the state of the Christian Church at of St. Paul, who was distinguished Rome at a particnlar time, and the senti by his zeal in contending for sound ments he expresses are, in all respects, doctrine and the unity of a settled worthy of liimself and of that holy religion which he so firmly believed and practised. faith, and in opposing in conjuncHe describes the different motives by which tion with the other Apostles, the different preachers were actuated, bat does progress of error and heresy. The not intimate that any diversity of doctrine
same analogy of the Scriptures will prevailed anong them. The observation confute another popular misappreof Erasmus upon this passage appears both hension of the text, in which it is just and lumivous : 'Non Paulus de his loquitur, qui docebant hæretice, sed qui arbitrarily brought in defence of the recte licet animo parum siucero. 'Nec hos ministrations of private and unau. probat tamen : sed negat sibi discutien. thorized teachers, as if ordination dum, quo animo id faciant, modo prosint.' to the ministry were a matter of inThe whole scope of the Apostle's disconree difference, or as if St. Paul bad neis confined to the character of the man. A contrast is drawn between two classes he beheld the order of the Colos
ver recorded the pleasure with which of precahers, who were then engaged in propagating the Gospel at Roine. One sians, or had never warned the Ro. class was actnated by envy and strife,' mans to mark such as caused divithe other by “ good will. The one la- sions and offences, contrary to the boured 'in pretence,' the other in truth,' doctrine which they had learned. But as the pretensions of both were equally The conclusion of Mr. Strong is as fair, the general congregation of Christiaus, applicable to schism as it is to disto whom their instructions were addressed,
sent: did not perceive the bypocritical character of the former class; and, consequently, “ If St. Paul had intended, in the lantheir preaching was productive of as much guage of my text, to represent uniformity public benefit as if they had beep truly of faith as a matter of indifference, he
would have contradicted himself and other - « When our Saviour said, " He that inspired teachers of the Apostolical Church. believeth not shall be damned,' lie doubts But if the words be applied to the motives less intended to denonce punishment on of the preachers, without reference to all who, with sufficient means of inforina. their doctrine, they will be found in per- tion, might reject, or wilfully corrupt the fect harmony with the general declarations doctrines of his religion; bnt not on those of Holy Writ." P. 17.
who might be ignorant of the Gospel, or It has been sometimes supposed, ledge of its doctrines and conditions. It
incapable of attaining a competent know.' that the severe judgment pronounced is clearly the perverse disposition of indivi: upon unbelief, especially in the last duals, not the deficiency of their knowcommission of our Lord recorded by ledge, against which his anger is denonnced. St. Mark, is irreconcilable with the So the language of the Athanasian Creed is mercies revealed in the Gospel, but intended to condemn all wilful depravation it is shewn by Mr. Strong in the se. this sense it has always been understood
of the truth, and obstinate infidelity. In. cond Discourse, to be no valid ob- by the most temperate and judicious wri. jection to a revelation otherwise au ters of the Church of England; and it is, thenticated, and proved of Divine perhaps, worthy of remark, that the comorigin. The sentence in its just in- missioners who were appointed to revise terpretation, is applicable to none the Liturgy, in the first year of King but those who possess and neglect
William the Third, liad resolved to prepare the opportunities of Christian know- clauses are to be understood as relating
a rubric to this effect; the condemning ledge; and, as in the preceding only to those who obstinately deny the clause, obedience is implied in the substance of the Christian faith. It is promise made to such as believe and well known that the main object of this are baptized, so the condemnation commission was at last abandoned; but of those who believe not, is founded the fact that such a rubric was prepared on their deliberate and voluntary re- by the commissioners is a proof of the jection of the truth. While Chris- construction which they put upon the
damnatory clauses of the Athanasian tianity thus considers the relative Creed.
In attaching this sense to the opportunities of its disciples, we, clauses in question they acted in conforwho have the opportunity of believ. mity both to Scripture and reason, and ing, are inexcusable in infidelity, begueathed a lesson of wisdom and moand it becomes a question of the deration to the clergy of future times. deepest interest and importance, Although the rubric which they proposed what is the doctrine professed in tend to confirm onr judgment and to pro
was not inserted in the Liturgy, it may baptism, of which the rejection in- duce mach private satisfaction in a point curs the judgment pronounced on of acknowledged difficulty. As our Saunbelief? The obvious and only an: viour did not think it necessary to guard swer is, that it is the doctrine of the the strong language of my text, but has left Trinity, which, as well as all other us to understand it with such exceptions as doctrines of the Gospel, it is neces.
common sense and the general principles
of his religion might suggest, 50 we may sary to preserve whole and undefil
understand these clauses of the Creed as a ed. The Preacher is thus led to broad and general statement of an imporanimadvert on the composition and tant truth, which applies, in different despirit of the Nicene or Constantino- grees, to different persons, and must, politan and the Athanasian Creeds, therefore, always be received in a qualified to the former of which an anathema
scuse.". P. 36. founded on tbe text (Mark xvi. 16.) was originally annexed, but forined
The doctrine of the Athanasian do part of the Creed: the damna. Creed, is true, and is founded in tory clauses, as they are called, of the Scriptures, and was designed to the latter, although equally autho counteract inany pernicious hererized and sanctioned, have been the sies, with which we are not at lifrequent occasion of cavilling and berty to compromise the faith of
the Guspel, and which may at all
times be disclaimed without incur. Scripture, but in the purest writings of ring a charge of intolerauce: antiquity, to signify a benefactor, a sense
which appears to harmonize exactly with " It appears, then, that the language the general spirit of the text before is. of the Athanas;an Creed is not more According to this interpretation St. Paul's severe than the language of our Savionr language may be thus paraphrased : and bis Apostles; and, moreover, that "Scarcely would a man die for the sake of similar expressions were used by the a fellow-creature, in whose character the Church in primitive times, not with a noblest qualities were combined. I will presumptuous intention of anticipating the not absolutely maintain, however, that decisions of almighty wisdom, but simply such a thing is impossible where especial with a view of protecting the everlasting ties of gratitude and love are added to Gospel from the errors of the weak and that highi veneration which a virtuous chathe designs of the wicked. On the same racter naturally excites; but this is the ground we are reqnired to nse the Atha. utmost extent to which human benevonasian Creed. It becomes us to recite lence and affection can be carried. Mark, that ancient formulary, not in a spirit of then, how far the love of God towards intolerance and pride, but with humility, men exceeds the most devoted attachment charity, and faith ; in the earnest hope of man to his fellow-creatures. God conthat it may please God 'to bave mercy on mendeth his love towards us in that while all Jewa, Torks, Infidels, and Heretics ; we were yet sinners Christ died for us, to take from them all ignorance, hardness Greater love hath no inan than this, that a of heart, and contempt of his word, and man should lay down his life for his friends. so fetch them home to his flock ; that they But the Son of God died for his enemies, may be saved among the remnant of the for those who were in open allegiance to true Israelites, and be made one fold under the prince of darkness, sunk in the abomi. one Shepherd, Jesus Christ our Lord.'”- nations of idolatry, and utterly estranged P. 40.
in heart and mind from the knowledge and
service of the true God." P. 52. The doctrine of Universal Atone. ment, and the doctrine of Universal Grace, are argued in the third and Paul, and indeed of all the Apos
It was plainly the doctrine of St. fourth Discourses, with reference tles, that Christ died for a sinful to the objections of the Socinians, world : and his death is both unwhose confidence in maintaining
, their peculiar opinions, whose sub equivocally called an Atonement.
and may be demonstratively shewn tlety in the perversion of Scriptural to be an Atonement, from a comtruth, and whose endeavours to parison with the Mosaic sacrifices, abate the sovereign authority of the In its benefits, the sacrifice of his Scriptures, render it necessary at all death included not only the first times to warn the young and inex. disciples, but all mankind. These perienced of their delusive argu are certain truths in the judgment of ments. The general doctrine of St. the Christian believer, and the more Paul concerning the Atonement, in
they are perverted, the more necesRomans v. 7, 8. is too plain to be misunderstood, notwithstanding the explained. They are mysterious
sary is it, that they should be variety and the difficulty of inter. truths, but they are not iherefore preting the particular expressions of unreasonable; they have their evia “just” and a “good” man, which
dence in our own hearts, and in the are not unfrequently opposed in the
deep conviction of our own neces. Scriptures, and of which the first
sities. may be thought to respect the ri
In his address to the Jews on the gour of the Law, and the last the day of Pentecost, St. Peter may be benevolence of the Gospel. Mr. thought to have referred especially, Strong interprets the latter expres. and almost exclusively, to the mirasion, of a benefactor:
culous effusion of the Holy Spirit, " It is well known that the word ayamos,
and to that event, and to the extrawhich occurs here, is used, not only in ordinary powers of the Apostles, it
tolic age :
is known, that the Socinians would the Apostle to the communion of restrict the whole doctrine of the the Holy Spirit with the faithful : Holy Spirit of God. Mr. Strong, "Ye are the temple of the living in a very luminous and satisfactory God, as God hath said, I will dwell argument, 'refutes this opinion, by in them and walk in them, and I the citation of various predictions will be their God, and they shall be of the ancient Prophets, expressed my people." in very full and general terms, which
“ It may be sufficient to produce one can hardly be understood of any
more testimony from the prophetic Scripother subject, than the effusion of tures. Ezekiel, having assured his counDivine grace, on a scale much more trymen that their own perverseness was extensive than can be applicable to the cause of all their calamities, comforts the miraculous gifts of the Apos- them with a distant prospect of divine
mercy, and breaks forth into expressions
which can only apply, in their full sense, " A well-known passage of Jeremiah to the times or economy of the Gospel. may also be produced in confirmation of "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon the same point. “Behold the days come, you, and ye shall be clean : from all your saith the Lord, that I will make a new filthiness and from all your idols will. I Covenant with the house of Israel and with cleanse you. A new heart also will I the house of Judah: pot according to the give you, and a new spirit will I put covenant that I made with their fathers, within you. And I will take away the in the day that I took them by the hand stony heart out of your flesh, and will give to bring them out of the land of Egypt; you an heart of Hesh, and I will put my but this shall be the covenant that I will Spirit within you, and cause you to walk make with the house of Israel: I will put in my statutes.' Here, surely, is rather a my law in their inward parts, and write it description than a prophecy of the ordi. in their hearts, and will be their God, and nary operation of divine grace upon the they shall be my people. It would be Christian Church, without any apparent, difficult to give a consistent exposition of reference to that special degree of illumi. this passage, which is so frequently cited nation which was limited to the Apostolic as a prediction of the Gospel, without age. A manifest allusion is also made to especial reference to the influence of the the sacrament of Baptism, by which the Spirit bestowed npon mankind, under the first portion of sanctifying grace is beChristian economy, for the ordinary pur- stowed, and a principle of spiritual life poses of salvation. For the prophet not implanted in the soul of man.
It is impos only anticipates the superior holiness and sible to read those words of the Prophet, efficacy of that dispensation which was
"I will sprinkle clean water upon you, to succeed the law, but allodes expressly and ye shall be clean,' without remarking to the more intimate communion which how exactly they correspond with the was then to subsist between the Deity language of the New Testament on the and his creatures. I will put my law in doctrine of Baptism.Arise,' said Anatheir ioward parts, and write it in their nias to St. Paul, and wash away thy sins.' bearts.' In the New Testament the Mo- 'He saved us by the washing of regenera. saic covenant is called the law of a carnal tion and renewing of the Holy Ghost." commandment, and the Christian · the And in the verse immediately preceding ministration of the Spirit.' The strongest my text, St. Peter this addresses his expressions are also nsed to describe that audience : Repent, and be baptized every boly intercourse which subsists between one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, the Spirit of God and the souls of the for the remission of sins, and ye shali faithful.He that is joined to the Lord receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.' To is one spirit,-know ye not that your body the same effect is that noble and spirited is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is exhortation in the Epistle to the Hebrews : in you, which ye bave of God?—therefore 'Let us draw near with a true heart, in glorify God in your body and in your full assurance of faith, having our hearts spirit, which are God's.'” P. 76.
sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our
bodies washed with pure water.'” P. 78 The concluding words of this prophecy of Jeremiah, are frequent These prophecies are sufficient to ly repeated by the Prophet Ezekiel, justify the inference, that the gifts and they are expressly applied by of the Holy Spirit are commensuREMEMBRANCER, No. 42.