« ForrigeFortsett »
But errors of opinion, on constitutional points, shall never be suffered by us to pass unnoticed, especially when committed by lawyers, who onght to underitand the nature of our go-, vernment, at least, though they may not be qualified to write books of biography with taste or judgement. In p. 207 the Observer censures Mr. Justice Hyde for saying, upon the trial of Harrison, one of the regicides, “ that the King was above the two Houses, that the laws were made by him, and not by them by their consenting, but they were his laws."'“ What unconstitutional language for a lawyer,” exclaims our ancient Member, especially as he was a Judge!" He then proceeds to give his own idea upon the point, which, we venture to say, no judge nor lawyer can poslibly approve; and he tells us, by way of explanation, “that Judge Hyde seems to have confounded the King's legislative with his executive power ; by virtue of the latter, indeed, he acts sole and independent, but in that character only." He quctes Blackstone's Commentaries (VOL. 1, 154, 155,) for this latter sentence: we know this paffage, and think npne but the ancient Member could swallow such absurdity. Blacktore grossly milleau's studenis, in suggesting to them, that the King acts solely and independently in any case whatsoever; he as much needs the advice of his Privy Council, and Officers of State, in executing the law, as that of his Parliament in making it; he is above all those who advise him, whether in Parliament or out of it, though, by law, he cannot act without their advice; he is Sovereign, and they are his subjects and not his equals, in any sense of the world, however assembled, in Parliament, or out of it. Mr. Justice, Hyde, therefore, understood the nature of our government. better than the Observer; and, if he be not satisfied with our judgement, we refer hiin to his colleagues, the other Members of the Inner Temple; among the rest, io Mr. HoRNE Tooxe himself, who, it must be owned, in some of his writings, has expressed more found sentimeats on the fundamentals of our Monarchy than men deemed better affected, and who call themselves conftitutional lawyers.
ART. VI. Six Ell'ays upon Theological (3 which are alrede
Two upon Moral) Subjects. By Thomas Ludlam, A. M.
Mr. Robinson's “ Seripture Characters," was very jully exposed, we observed the clear and accurate reafoner, though
we disapproved, in several instances, the warmth of the controversialist. That Mr. Robinson's book was well intentioned, we entertained not a doubt, although we perceived, with Mr. Ludlam, the unfoundness of many of its principles. But we were not altogether pleased with our author's manner of treating a very sincere friend to christianity.
The same observations may be extended to the Essays before us; the distinguishing character of which is, precision and perspicuity; but which are often disgraced by the sarcastic Ineer that seems to indicate a consciousness of superiority over men of first-rate genius, talents, and learning.
The subjects of these Essays are as follow:-" The Scrip. ture Signification of the Word Truth."-" The Nature of Revelation."-" The Curse mentioned Gal. ch. iii. v. 13."" The Divine Nature." - The Mode of Reasoning adopted in Dr. Knox's Christian Philosophy."_" The Effects of the Fall.”_". The Difference between the Powers and Dispositions of the Human Mind.”_" The Nature and Grounds of Moral Obligution."
It cannot be expected that we should accompany Mr. Ludlam in all his reasonings, or minutely consider every topic of discussion.
If we detach from their contexts such passages as may jus, tify our preceding remarks, both on the abilities and the temper of the Essayist, our readers will be enabled to form a toleiable judgement of the nature and merits of the publication.
In his first Essay, where we meet with much acuteness of remark, our author might have spared the following farcasım: “ God expects not that mere affirmation should pass for truth, though modern divines seem to do so."-[Dr. Knox.] There is a want of ease in the language of these essays, particularly the first, which is repulsively stiff and formal. Petulance of animadversion is, doubtless, inexcusable ; but severity of censure may, in many cases, be admitted ; perhaps, in the case of Dr. Hawker, of Plymouth, whose enthusiasm and fanaticism are uncxainpled, among the regular clergy of this country. “The divided and uncertain opinions of expositors, (says Mr. L.) are what theeelebrated Dr. Hawker sagacioully thinks he can easily and perfectly obviate by a device to subtle, it must certainly be his own. In P. 16 of his Essays on the Divinity of Christ, he says, “ He is free to confess that he pays no regard to the divided and uncertain opinions of the whole body of cominentators ; it is the unalterable doctrine of scripture, which is to be the guide of his and our faith." Wonderful! For do not all these divided and uncertain com, mentators, profefs to follow the suine guide ? And, are not
their professions as deserving of regard as the doctor's? Unless he choose to say with the Pope, that he is infallible. This ingenious rule for attaining the true sense of scripture, puts us in mind of Zachary Fungus's rule for attaining the true art of fencing, whereby you may fight a duel with perfeet safety. Zachary pays no regard to the divided and uncer. tain opinions of the whole body of teachers of this art; the obfervation of one short and simple rule is, he says, alone fufficient. It is only, “ to take care to kill your adversary, and not to be killed yourself." This extract' is from the second essay. The third presents us with some observations on sincere obedience, which we highly approve.
There is no doubt but Mr. Venn is greatly mistaken, when he intimates in his New Duty of Man,* that sincerity has been falsely adopted into our divinity, as the gracious intention of the new covenant, in opposition to the law of perfect obedience. And when Dr. Hawker, in a long note in his Essay upon the Holy Spirit, defies any one to find sincerity in the New Testament, he discovers more of the over-weening pride of the Polemic, than the humility and diffidence of the Chriftian.
“ Whatever such writers may affirm, (says Mr. L.) who, because they do not find the name, cannot see the thing, unless we choose to believe Dr. Hawker and Mr. Venn, in preference to St. John and St. Paul, we must affirm, that perfect obedience is not the condition of the New Covenant; so far from it, that the great design of the Covenant of Grace is to remove the difficulty, and soften the rigour of the Law of Works. For the New Covenant admits of a defective obedience, or, what amounts to the same thing, it provides a remedy for fin, by holding out forgiveness through the blood of Jesus, to repenting and believing finners. The Law of Works, or of Nature, do not allow of repentance, as alone available to the remission of fins. Nothing is said in the first, nothing can be collected from the second, to thew that it is so."
Very much akin to this is that assertion of Mr. Wilberforce,'" that christianity hath not moderated the requisitions of God's law ; (that is, his Law of Works,) nor mitigated the rigour of its demands, nor relaxed the severity of divine justice, upon account of human weakness. Because Mr. W. does. not find express allowances of imperfect conduct, he concludes the strictness of the Law of Works, stiil remains in opposition
* Preface, P. 10.
to the declaration of the apostle. Mr. W. did not consider, " that no law can permit a violation of, that is, a deviation from, its commands; for then repentance would not be necessary, because a permitted violation is no violation at all." But the establisher of such law may not only appoint what penalties he thinks proper to the violation of his laws; he may, also, remit these penalties to what degree, or upon what conditions, he thinks fit. Mercy, from the nature of it, is, and must be, a favour ; it cannot be founded upon right, for could offenders claim exemption from punishment, grace would be no more grace.
These are sensible remarks, and worth all the abstract reasoning that is to be found in this little volume.
The fourth Essay stands foremost in point of compofition. The concluding part of it is peculiarly eloquent.
The fifth, containing remarks on Dr. Knox's Christian Philosophy, is, in our opinion, neither just in its principles, nor candid in its strictures. « The Doctor, who is a divine to be fure, because he is D.D. and a classic, without doubt, because he is a schoolmaster, has endeavoured to add the authority of St. Paul to his own."_“Unfortunately, St. Paul is no dealer in uselefs nor infignificant propositions." -"The Doctor had a system to maintain, and then adieu to fense, meaning, context, connection, grammar, and fometimes to common hoResły.” A most illiberal insinuation! The flippancy, with which Mr. L. (a few pages afterwards) criticizes Soame Jennings, is by no means serviceable to the cause he would support,
The sixth Essay is a theological disquisition which merits an attentive perusal.
The two concluding Essays are upon moral subjects; in the latter of which, Dr. Paley's Notion of the Moral Sense, advanced in his Lectures upon Morality, is fully considered.
Thc propensity in some writers to dwell upon elementary and verbal distinctions we have always disapproved ; especially when religion was the subject of their confideration : and Mr. Ludlam's fondness for definition* compels us to observe, that christianity was not revealed to man so inuch for the purpose of exercising his understanding, as of influencing his affections, and regulating his conduct.
* In the last Eflay, Mr. L. accuses Dr, Paley, and Dr. Johnson too, of a want of precision in their ideas,
Lui his pref-ce, P. 4, « Dr, P. quotes Dr. Johnson,” (says Mr. Ludlam,) affirming that when the obligations of morality are taught, the fanétions of chrif. tianity should never be forgotten; because, by attending to these fanctions, we shall see morality and christianity giving luítre to each other. For thus, religion will appear to be ihe voice of reason, and morality the will of God."
Art. VII. Remarks on the Eastern Origination of Mankind,
and of the Arts of cultivated Life. By Granville Penn, Esq. F. S. A. 4to. Pp. 32. THIS is a separate publication of a discourse that had be
fore appeared in The Oriental Collections. The object of it is, to enquire into the true sense of the passage in Genefis, ch. xi. ver. 2. which our tranflators give thus :-“ Aud it came to pass, as they journeyed FROM THE EAST, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. The difficulty has been to reconcile this journeying from the East to Shinur, with the fact of Noah and his family being lodged in the ark, on mount Ararat, in Armenia ; from which, and its vicinity, where he and his descendants, no doubt, fet tled, the journey would be towards the South, and rather from the West than from the East. The whole of this controversy turns upon the sense that belongs to the Hebrew word Dipp; fome, among whom are our translators, suppose it signifies from the Ealt, others, that it signifies equally to the East. Mr. Penn contends, upon a comparison of other passages, and the collateral authority of the Chaldee paraphrase, that it has another meaning, which is the true one, in this passage. He
“ By morality,” (observes Mr. L.)" we mean the will of God, as far as it can be collected from the nature and course of his works. By religion, we mean the will of God, as far as it is made known 10 us by revelation, that is, by fupernatural means. Revelation informs us of many facts, and informs us of the consequences or effects of These facts-effects which no hurnan reason could discover. Such facts are those of the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection of Jesus. The consequences or effects of these facts, are the various benefits men may receive from this wonderful difpenfation. This, I take it, is Christianity. Are we then to say that morality gives ftrength and lustre to the atonement of our Lord, to the forgiveness of our fins, which we receive through faith in his blood? And, are we to assert, that this atonement of our Lord, this forgiveness of lins, &c. &c, appear to be the voice of reason ?''
But resolve the morality and christianity' of Johnson and Paley, into the inoral virtues and the christian graces, and then ask whether the moral virtues and the christian graces may not give strength and luftre to each other? We may affert even the doctrines of the atones ment and forgiveness of fins, to be the voice of reason, if we recollect that Socrates, perceiving the relation between the creature and the Creator, and sensible of the perfection of the one, and the depravity of the other, deduced, from reason itself, the neceility of some revelation, so reconcile man to himself and to his God.