Page images
PDF
EPUB

erts its transforming influence upon be healed by his stripes. We do the doctrines of the gospel. One not mean to say, that all who modification of the scheme admits adopt the philosophical principle, the distinction between heart and apply it in this extent; but it has will, but ascribes the government , long been an established maxim, of the heart to the will, and adopts that the tendency of error is rapidunder some modification the old ly onward in its departure from theory of self-determining power truth. We think the application of the human will. But in all its of this philosophy explains the various modifications the princi- fact, and illustrates the maxim. ple, that moral character belongs Men of speculative minds, who exclusively to voluntary exercises adopt the first principle, may be is retained.

pious and not discover the legiThe mischief which it operates timate tendency of the error, or in the interpretation of the Bible, they may be kept from its control. depends upon the extent of its ap- ing influence by their love of truth. plication. It sets aside the doc- But let them yield their minds to trine of original sin, and teaches the influence of this philosophy, that children are not born in sin, and apply it to the interpretation are not morally depraved until of the Bible throughout; and we they act in view of known law, but see not where they will stop, until are innocent and without charac- they have swept away all the dister. We think the advocates of tinguishing doctrines of grace. this philosophy are consistent with The doctrine of regeneration units spirit and principles, in denying dergoes an entire transformation, the doctrine of original depravity, and becomes a mere change of voand exploding the long established lition or governing purpose, efformula of faith, that “the sinful- fected by moral suasion, without ness of that estate into which man any special agency of the Holy Spifell, consists in the guilt of Adam's rit. Thus men make themselves first sin, the want of original new hearts, regenerate themselves, righteousness, and the corruption and create themselves anew in of his whole nature which is com- Christ Jesus. And when men have monly called original sin, together philosophically broken loose from with all actual transgressions dependence on the influence of the which proceed from it.” But Holy Ghost, the next step is easy consistency is of little value, when and legitimate, from the principreserved at the expense of truth; ples to a dependence upon human and such we think is the only re- reason as the guide and revelation deeming quality in the application only an auxiliary, which aft of this philosophy. This, how- tle may be dispensed with entireever, is only the beginning of the ly. Such we think the legitimate havoc made with the orthodox tendency of this philosophy. But faith, and with the interpretation what saith' the Scriptures on those of the Bible. With the doctrine doctrines mentioned? On the of original sin, is also set aside doctrine of original sin, they speak the whole doctrine of representa- thus,“ who can bring a clean thing tion in Adam and in Christ. The out of an unclean,” not one Bephilosophical dogma is, that vo- hold I was shapen in iniquity, and luntary exercises are personal acts, in sin did my mother conceive me. and neither transferable nor impu- Wherefore as by one man, sin en. table to another-consequently we tered into the world, and death by can in no sense be responsible for sin: and so death passed upon all the fall of Adam, and Christ could men for that (epce, in whom) all not bear our iniquities, nor can we have sinned. For if by one man's

[ocr errors]

offence death reigned by one. those who advocate forms and an Therefore as by the offence of one, established Liturgy. But the evil judgment came upon all men to is sometimes apparent in sermons condemnation. For as by one and exhortations, as well as in man's disobedience, many were prayers. made sinners—sin hath reigned unto death.” On all the other doc- A light and irreverent use of trines the Holy Scriptures are very the name of God is highly unbeexplicit, and so plain that he who coming on the part of man, disruns may read. We have not room pleasing to the Most High, a vioto quote the passages, and we can- lation of his own special command, not think it necessary, since the and exceedingly hurtful to the feelspecimens already given are plain- ings of every one, who, as Moses enly contradictory to the philosophy joined on the Israelites, “has learnin question, and recognise princi. ed to reverence and fear that gloriples perfectly opposite. Besides, ous and fearful name, the Lord our on the face of the scheme which God.” Were the frequent and we oppose, there is such a glar. unnecessary use of this name coning absurdity, that an unsophisti- fined to irreligious persons, those cated mind will not be misled by who fear and reverence God would it. Let the whole subject be care- not have so much to deplore; but fully and fairly investigated, and that the practice is too common, we fear not the result.

E. even among Christians, few will

deny. This, Sir, is an evil to which I wish to call public attention; and, among the rest, I particularly request the regards of the

Ministers of the Gospel. Their Since the Synod of Ulster, in business is to minister in holy Ireland, purified itself from the things; and perhaps the frequency, leaven of Unitarianism, which of their engagements in fresh exerthreatened to leaven the whole cises, leads them into forgetfulness lump, Dr. Cook, whose eloquent on this particular point. In reaspeech we published in our 7th soning with men on any subject, volume, has become the editor of unnecessary repetition of the same a monthly publication at Belfast, word is a proof that the speaker is entitled The Orthodox Presbyterian. ill informed, and greatly weakens We have not hitherto made any the force of his argument. In extracts from this valuable work,' writing, the thing is quite intolebut intend in future to present our rable, and at once leads to the rereaders, occasionally, with some of jection of a book so composed. its short articles. We earnestly Various allowances are, howrecommend the following to the ever, to be made to those who deserious consideration of all who liver unstudied, extemporaneous lead in social worship, both cler- discourses,—they are, I suppose, gymen and laymen; the evil which nearly unconscious of the evilit seeks to correct has often ex- this, however, they should not be; ceedingly marred our devout feel- for in addressing men on religious ings; and we think its correction subjects, and much more so when a matter of no small importance. they address the Majesty of heaAmong other reasons for endea- ven and earth, their words, few or vouring to avoid it, one is—that its many, should be well chosen. Our existence furnishes one of the Lord particularly charges his disstrongest objections against free ciples “not to use vain repeti

extemporaneous prayer, by tions.” Now I think it will be adCh. Adv.-Vol. X.

3 Z

ON REVERENCE FOR THE NAME OF

GOD.

or

mitted, that the unnecessary repe- out from morning till noon, “O tition of any word will fairly enti- Baal hear us!" but Elijah's adtle it to this character. Surely, dress to the hearer of prayer was then, the veneration which should simple, and unattended by vain realways be manifested for the Sa- petition. The form of prayer diccred Name, should lead Christians, tated by our Lord, which he has and Christian Ministers, to be as commanded us in our prayers to sparing in their use of this name, imitate, is unaccompanied with as due regard to the illustration of the repetition of the name God. their subject will admit. “ Thou What, then, are we to think of shalt not take the name of the those preachers, the one half nearLord thy God in vain.” This is ly of whose sermons and prayers high authority, and claims regard are made up of repetitions of the in a more extensive sense than Sacred Name? I do not accuse Christians at first sight might them of intended irreverence; but seem to think.

to me it argues, that such persons Many persons fancy, if they are either come forth very iH prepared speaking on religious subjects, or for their work, or that they have, offering up prayer to the “ Most fallen into a very inexcusable erHigh," they are at liberty to use ror, in imagining, that by unceasthis name at the beginning, middle, ingly pronouncing the name of and ending of almost every sen- God, their discourses will be better tence; and by doing so, they are received. I assure such Ministers, not aware, though I have frequent- if they knew the mind of their ly observed it to be the case, they hearers, such a practice is almost make some of their addresses real- universally disliked, I have heard ly without meaning. To such I it condemned both by the religious would say, remember the third com- and irreligious, and I really hope mandment, and that unnecessary many of our Ministers will alter repetition is vain. We know that, their general practice on this head. in common conversation, it is con- In prayer, the very frequent repesidered very ill bred, and very vul- tition of the divine name is quite gar, to repeat the name of the per- out of place; for in such an exerson we are addressing in every cise it is not required. “Holy and sentence. Having mentioned the Reverend” is his name, let all his person's name at the commence- people sanctify it, and pray that it ment of our discourse, the person- may be so throughout the earth. al pronouns I, thou, he, and you, Amen.

F. are quite sufficient in future to make our address to be fully understood. All good orators, I have observed, avoid a too frequent repetition of the name of God, both in their preaching and prayers,

About a hundred years ago, a and their doing so is admired by shepherd boy, wrapt in his plaid, all sensible hearers. The late Mr. went into a bookstore in EdinNewton, in writing to a friend on burgh, and asked for a secondthis subject, said, he did not like hand Greek Testament, being unMinisters, in their discourses, to able to buy a new one. The book“chime on the name of Jesus;" seller having handed him one, he and he was not sure but in doing asked the price. “For whom do so to the extent that some did it, you want it?” inquired the booklittle short of a profanation of the seller. “ For myself," answered divine name was committed. the boy. “ Then,” said the book

The worshippers of Baal called seller, “ if you will read and trans

THE GREEK TESTAMENT-AN ANEC

DOTE.

late a few verses, you shall have it In the course of conversation, Mr. for nothing." The poor boy, Brown inquired if he remembered highly pleased with the proposal, the circumstance above detailed. complied with the conditions, and "I remember it well,” replied the carried off the Testament in tri. bookseller," and would give a good umph.

deal to know what became of that Many years afterwards, the late boy; for I am sure that he has Rev. John Brown, of Haddington, risen to eminence in some way or then in the midst of his fame as an other. “Sir," said Mr. Brown, author, entered into conversation you see him before you." It is with the bookseller. The latter, needless to add that the recollecwho was well acquainted both with tion was highly gratifying to both his person and his character, re- parties. ceived him with marked respect.

Heview.

Agreeably to an intimation in The second lecture is introour Review of these lectures in duced with a restatement of the our last number, we are now to method proposed in the first, for give an abstract of the second; the illustration of the text (Jas. i. in which, as heretofore intimated, 5, 6, 7.). Professor R. remarks, is found the chief object of the au- that of the four inquiries, which thor in the discussion contained he had proposed to answer, the in the pamphlet before us. The first three had already been consisubject indeed is here treated in a dered. He then adds, “ We now manner so lucid and satisfactory, proceed to the fourth, and ask, and is so important in itself, that we First—what is to be understood wish, in place of an abstract, or an by the prayer of faith? analysis, we could give the whole

“This expression,"continues the author, lecture, just as it stands. But " seems obviously capable of two sepses, as we cannot do this, we shall and must be understood differently acabridge the first part, in which the cording to the different kinds of faith em. author prepares the way for the played in prayer. In the primitive church

there is reason to believe that two kinds result at which he arrives; and of faith were thus employed : one extrathe result itself, with the two im- ordinary, being peculiar to certain indiportant inferences with which he viduals, who had ihe gift of working miconcludes, we propose to quote at

racles; the other common, belonging to

all Christians who truly embraced the large~To this extent, we do not gospel. Both were the result of divino think we could fill our pages bet- teaching, though perhaps in a different ter. The benefit of our readers is way; and both were founded upon the the object at which we desire to

testimony of God; still they were in va.

rious respects different from each other. aim, in all we either write our- The first, which we denominate extraorselves or extract from the wri- dinary, and which was connected with tings of others; and a just appre

miraculous operations, was not necessari. hension of what should be under- ly, it would seem, a gracious exercise.

Certain it is that many wrought miracles, stood by the prayer of faith, is what and miracles in Christ's name, who will be is peculiarly needed at the pre- disowned by him at last. Whether they sent time, and in the present cir.. wrought them with or without faith, is not cumstances of the Presbyterian expressly said; but as they wrought them church. Our own remarks will tion that it was through faith in that

in Christ's name, there is a fair presumpnot be numerous or extensive.

And this presumption is the

pame.

stronger when we consider the language the genuineness and strength of which the apostle holds on the subject of his faith by working a miracle, miraculous gifts in general. (1 Cor. 13.) “ Though I speak with the tongues of

as he describes it in his “ Grace men and of angels, and have not charity, I abounding to the Chief of Sinam become as sounding brass, or a tink- ners,” is no very uncommon case. ling cymbal; and though I have the gift Bunyan was, and many others are, of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge ; and though I have a happily delivered from this tempfaith, so as to remove mountains, and have

tation and error. But the whole not charity, I am nothing." Here it is host of fanatical miracle workers, supposed, not only that men might work and confident predicters of indivimiracles without being Christians, but dual conversions, in modern times, that they might work them in the exercise of faith in the divine power and ve

appear to act under the unhappy racity: nay, that they might possess all mistake and delusion we here confaith, so as to remove mountains, or the template. They misapply pashighest degree of faith connected with sages of Scripture which exclusiveor love. Not so the faith common to ali ly relate to the faith of miracles, true believers. This in all cases is a gra

to the faith which is essential to cious or holy exercise. Love is essential salvation; and think that it is only to its very being. It not only gives credence to the divine testimony, in what the latter kind, which disqualifies

the want of a stronger faith of ever manner exhibited, but cordially approves of that testimony. It is not mere

them and their friends for doing ly an intellectual but å moral exercise ; all the wonderful works which and hence it is described as purifying the were done by the apostles and heart and overcoming the world. The

other primitive Christians. In the faith of miracles might exist without a

Roman Catholick church this errenovated heart; but this never exists except in those who are born of God and ror, seems to be reduced to syslove God, and therefore it is placed among tem; as we find that it is a part of the fruits of the Spirit, and regarded as the grand condition of salvation.Cir distinguished saints may, and still

the creed of that church, that their cumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, saith the apostle, but faith often do, work miracles of the which worketh by love.

most astonishing kind. It is not to our present purpose mi- But even when all these exnutely to distinguish between these two kinds of faith, nor to inquire how often it

tremes are avoided, some persons is probable they were blended together in

of real, and in general, rational the same persons. It will be enough to piety, appear to cherish a portion have it distinctly understood that they of the same error. They conclude were, in some important particulars, di: from the enlargement and fervour verse from each other; and therefore that which they find in praying for a we cannot reason from one to the other as if they were radically and essentially the specifick favour or blessing, that

such favour or blessing will cer

tainly be granted them. Now that Here our author is at the very genuine and fervent prayer will fountain of the error which he always be followed with a blessing seeks to correct. It originates in to those who offer it, we firmly beconfounding the faith of miracles lieve; but not that the blessing with evangelical or saving faith, and will consist in granting the speciin applying to the latter, what in fick object prayed for. It should the Holy Scriptures is spoken only always be kept in mind that the of the former.

specifick object may be denied, This error is sometimes wit- and yet that something better may nessed in

its extreme, when be granted in its place-somethose who have had but little thing more for the glory of God, knowledge of the Bible first be, and more for the real and permacome deeply engaged for the sal- nent good of the petitioner himvation of their souls. The case of self-something which, if he were Bunyan, in his temptation to try fully enlightened and sanctified, he

same.

« PreviousContinue »