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circumcising-knife. Therefore I see not how denying the lawfulness of oaths under the gospel dispensation, can affect the harmony of the Old and New Testament, unless it can be proved, that the Old Testainent represented swearing as an unalterable moral obligation."
I answer, Swearing in truth, without all doubt, was a moral obligation, and is still' binding, and will continue so to be till every knee has bowed and tongue has sworn allegiance to Jehovah; and at present it does not appear to me that any solid reason can be given why the same means should not be used to put an end to strife now that were ordained by divine appointment from the beginning of the world. In the Epistle to the Hebrews, chap. vi. 13-18. we have given us at large the nature and design of an oath; in which we have both example and precept from God himself, and consequently the appointment must continue until the whole creation have perfect confidence in God as well as in one another; which never will be till every knee shall bow and every tongue shall swear. But in a Christian church, as the whole company have perfect confidence (or ought to have) both in God and in one another, if an oath was used amongst any of them, he that tenders it, and he that takes it, musť equally be under the influence of the evil one.
You think I am wrong in introducing the Apostle Paul as an example of taking an oath ; where you say, “ I am not at present convinced that every appeal to another respecting the truth of an assertion or matter of fact, is an oath; but rather think an oath always includes the affirming a thing in question to be as true as some other thing, the truth and reality of which is beyond all dispute: so when Jehovah swore by his own life, he declared what he had spoken to be as true, and the accomplishment of it as certain as his own life. Having this idea of an oath, I am not convinced that Paul made use of one in the passages which you have quoted.” Surely, Sir, I can hardly think you will deny that the Apostle was making a solemn appeal to God in 2 Cor. xi.
" The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is blessed for ever more, knoweth that I lie not.” Chap. i. 18. “ But as God is true," &c. See also Gal. i. 20. “ Now the things which I write unto you, behold before God I lie not.” If these words are not expressive of the nature of an oath, even according to your own definition, I shall be happy to be better instructed in this subject; at any rate, the apostle went beyond - the bounds of the restriction yea, yea, nay, nay, if you are right in this matter.
As to all positive or temporary precepts, divine inspiration informs us they were instituted as patterns or shadows of heavenly things; which, when the truth of them was accomplished in the person of Jesus Christ, the same divine authority. then forbid the continuance of. The circumcising knife was commanded to be applied to all Abraham's seed, till he should come to whom the promise was made; and every time it was used it preached, in prophetical language, “ Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given;" and when all the other parts of the ceremonial law were attended to, this very expressive language of the gospel was intended by them; “ Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world," &c. Therefore our Lord informs
the woman of Samaria, that in his person all types and shadows were superceded; that his Father's pleasure did not consist in worship of an external nature; for says he, “ God is a spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth;" that is, no longer in
ceremony. Thus, dear Sir, you may perceive I have not brought forward any new arguments, as I thought there was no occasion for additional or more forcible ones till you had confuted what I have advanced already. And as to the present state of my mind, from what you have said, and from what you have not said, I am ready, if called upon, to appeal to the Most High in confirmation of what I know to be a truth, where my simple yes or no will not be confided in; and if I was in a part of the world amongst Mahometans and Pagans, I should rejoice in having an opportunity of so doing; and if they expressed their concern at my confidence in what they did not believe in, it would then be my duty, as well as privilege, to declare that I live in the joyful prospect of that happy period when they, with all the rest of God's rational creatures, will be brought, not only to bow the knee, but to swear allegiance to and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
Thus, Sir, I have answered your reply with that fredlom you desired; and should you produce in future such reasons which I have never yet seen in defence of your opinion, it will be my duty to attend to them with the same care and solicitude that I have hitherto done with the same dependence on the divine teaching, as the poet expresses.
“ If I am right, o teach my heart
Still in the right to stay ;
To find that better way.”
I am, Sir,
THE PRECEPTOR.-No. II.
ויבחר ברוד עברו ויקחהו מככלאת צאן:
Then he beloved David wisely chose,
THE grand defect in the whole system of English education is, that
they act contrary to that reason of which they so much boast themselves to be the possessors--of that liberty which they assert is their birthright. This arises from their being ignorant of the very foundation on which true liberty rests. The schools in England seem to consider law as up
Springing out of order, united with freedoin of action. Hence all theis punishments arise from a love of order, and from a supposition that a. child knows his duty, and does not perform it—that children have freedom of action in all things but what are contrary to the will of the master, not considering that they are unacquainted, but by inference, with his will. How differently do the masters of schools reason with regard to the cominon concerns of life! In these they acknowledge that law is the parent of order; and that freedom of action can only be limited by law. This is the boast of Englishmen, That the will of an individual, or of any body of individuals, cannot ever restrain their actions; but the universal will may—that will which is made known by the law, and is equally binding upon all. And shall this boasted privilege be denied to our children? Shall we educate them in obedience to the absolute and uncontroulable will of an individual ? Shall we train them
in habits of slavery that they may emerge from the rod of despotisin capable of thinking and judging rightly for themselves—capable of using their new obtained freedom with wisdoin, moderation, and integrity?
Without order there is no constant improvement; and without law there is no order. What was it made Rome the inistress of the world? -Discipline. What is it gives the superiority of the sea to Britain ? Discipline. Discipline, founded on wise laws, calls forth all the mental powers, and combines the wisdom, the strength, and the virtue of the whole for general good. Wisdom, strength, and virtue, unconnected with discipline, are like scattered corn by the highway side, good. in itself, but liable to be trodden wn by the foot of the thoughtless passenger, or to be overthrown by the assailing gales of the restless tempest: but, protected by discipline, it is the same corn sown on the well cultivated field, protected from the unthinking passenger, and, by its regularity, combining the universal strength of every stalk, to shelter the whole from the impetuous torrent or the boisterous gale.
The difference between the workmanship of man and that workmanship which bespeaks the hand of Deity, is, that the first is but for a time perfect, and carries not within itself the means by which it can repair the waste of years, or the casualties to which it is liable. Not so the workmanship of the Most High; all his works carry within then a reviving principle, that correćts and restores every imperfection, and every waste. This principle we call the law of nature; it is the unchangeable law of God. Behold the heavenly bodies; how beautiful their arrangement, how certain their inotion! The law of their Creator regulates their every action, and gives beauty, dignity, usefulness, and immortality to the whole. The same inay be said concerning the whole economy of animated nature. Law it is that governs all the works of the Most High, and he has, in many places, forbidden the sons of men to alter it. Deut. xxii. 9, &c.
The law was thc schoolinaster (saith the apostle) to bring us to Christ; the Mosaical dispensation was given on account of the childish state of man; it was given, as unto children, to preserve them froin transgression and to guide their feet in the paths of virtue. Men that know their
duty, and love it, need no law; for love naturally makes all their actions (even without thinking concerning them) tend to the doing of their duty; it is to the lawless and the disobedient that laws are necessary; they are ignorant of their duty; it is therefore necessary to instruct them in it; they are ignorant of the happiness that attends the filling up their places in society properly; it becomes necessary, by the terrors of the law, to habituate them to the paths of virtue. Governed by self-love, they are slaves to hope, fear, desire, lust, revenge, &c.; it is necessary, by law, to correct the evil principle, that the man may live for himself, by living for the happiness of that society of which he is a member.The lawless mind has no desire of mental improvement; if it can grow in the arts of deceit, and cast a veil of appearances over the outward actions, it has attained the summit of its ambition : law breaks down this ignoble principle, shews the beauty of improvement, and gives life to every noble and energetic principle of the mind that before laid dormant--the man is called forth, the mask is flung away, and he seeks to be truly great, by causing all his actions to rise above the fear of investigation.
We do not find that David or Solomon made any new laws; yet how different was the Israelitish nation under their government to what it had been under the judges! Under the judges they were a brave, a virtuous, and a numerous people; but governed by passion, (Judges, xx.) unconnected, (Judges, vii. xii.) oppressed by the nations, (Judges, vi.) Not only without any monuments of national magnificence, but even without the means of making their agricultural utensils, but through the medium of foreign nations, 1 Sam. xiii. David mounted the throne he made the law respected; and the nation became strong. Solomon succeeded; he governed the nation by law; commerce became added to agriculture, magnificence was united to strength, and the little conteinptible nation of Israel became fainous amongst the kingdoms of the earth. The law became slack; vice entered; it became neglected, order was lost, and oppression reigned; it became forgot; superstition and vice took her seat; then ignorance entered, slavery followed, and the free, the first-born sons of God, became slaves in a foreign land.
Before ever the statuary begins to mould the unshapen block, he has determined in his mind the form he shall give it; in like manner, the wise preceptor, before he begins to instruct, determines within himself the future being whose mind he is about to mould, and the means he must employ to accomplish the end he has in view. It is not merely to teach languages, figures, and writing, that he undertakes the noble science of instruction; it is, that he may give mental form to the future member of society; that he may qualify him to act with every power of his mind and every attainment of his body for the happiness of the world. He has in his eye, not a being who, like the brute, is to be governed by instinct or trained up by the rod; but the future governor of the world is before him; the monarch of the universe--the parent --the master--THE MAN. That being, whose every action ought to spring from a sound understanding, and be directed to a right end. Hence arises the necessity of beginning instruction by law that the child, early trained up to know his duty, to reflect upon it, to see its propriety, and to act, and see others aćt, in the little world to which he belongs, upon certain principles, may, through habit, be led, in all his future life, to walk in the paths of justice, mercy, and humanity, in that sociecy which his kind Creator hath done him the honour to make him a , member of
LETTER IV. ON REPROBATION. TO AMOR VERITAS.
DEAR SIR, AS in stating your difficulties on Reprobation, you have honoured my
third letter on that subject with your particular notice, I take the liberty of addressing this to you. I know not whether I shall be able to give you full satisfaction : be that as it may, if we can between us help the reader to a more scriptural view of the subject than what generally prevails, it will be well: and I care not which of us contribute the most to so important an object.
May I not conclude, when you wrote your objections to my statement, you had read only my third letter on the subject? I think, if you had read my first and second letters you must have perceived that my leading object was to expose and refute the absurd ideas, and unscriptural reasoning, of Calvinists upon the subject: hence I thought it necessary to prove that the passages of Scripture in which the word reprobate occurs, in the common translation, by no means express the Calvinistic doctrine of reprobation : this made me enter upon a formal proof, that those to whom the word reprobate is applied in the Bible, were not persons in an irremediable state. I feel inuch obliged by the assistance which you have kindly given in the investigation of this point. I was, for popular edification, attempting to shew merely from the translation, that Calvinistic reprobation had no foundation in Scripture; you have stept forward, and with great ability shewn the reader, that the word translated reprobate in the Scriptures, by no means, of itself, necessarily imports the being in an irremediable state: I thank you, Sir, for thus candidly lending your aid to my position, that a state of reprobation is not without remedy. It is true you endeavour to set aside my conclusion so far as it has to do with a future state ; upon this point we are at issue, and I trust we shall combat with each others arguments in the spirit of Christian liberality. I presume, you are not to be told, that the Calvinistics
csystem supposes a state of reprobation to be without remedy, and that in this state all but the elect are included: I know not what strict Calvinist would assert the contrary. If the love of God extend only to the elect, if Christ died for them only, if God hath determined to extend his saving grace to them only, it must follow, that all but the elect are, and must eves remain, in an irremediable state: for how can there be any remedy for those whom God doth not love," for whom Christ did not die, to whom grace will never be extended?; However much Calvinişts may VOL.IV.