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be songht out in the direct intent in which they were originally given. The object is not to chase the shadowy forms of speculations and theories, or even to dig in rich philosophical mines ; but to collect, by the purest induction, the facts of revelation and duty. We are, with Mary, to sit at the feet of Christ and learn the one thing needful. In this way, we shall find the genuine and simple
Christianity of all pious hearts of all ages. We shall attain to the unity of the faith and the universal fellowship of the saints.
3. As a separate element, we would take up the study of philosophy, according to its legitimate methods, and with a spirit thoroughly independent. We would study it as we would study any other science. Here the history of philosophy ought to be introduced. Crude views arise from lazily following authorities, instead of developing one's own consciousness,---from rash and imaginative outthrows of the intelligence, instead of quiet and patient reflection,—and from picking out of theological systems the prejudices and dogmas which disputants gave out in the heat of controversy, or under the necessities of the received orthodoxy. When we have established our philosophy upon its own foundations, we may then seek for its connections with revealed truth and religious duty. This will be one of the most important parts of these studies : it will be the application of philosophy to its sublimest use.
In making this application, however, the independence of the two elements must be preserved: the facts and affirmations of revelation have their own basis, and are neither to be distorted nor supplanted ; and philosophy, having its basis likewise, is not to be hastily modified because of a supposed discrepancy between any of its doctrines and revelation. Let us steadfastly adhere to just laws and methods, and by and by the discrepancy may disappear. Galileo would have been in a gross error, bad he directed the Copernican system against the truth of the Bible: the cardinals were in a gross error, to direct the truth of the Bible against the Copernican system. It is often permitted us to see only particular spheres of the great universe of truth, without comprehending the law of harmony which binds them all into one. But if we are ever to comprehend the universal harmony, we must first know what is contained in the particular spheres.
4. The history of Christianity, under the two phases indicated at the beginning of this article. Of these, the philosophical and dogmatical history of Christianity is the chief. The external history is important, but only as the development of the other.
To our age and to our country peculiarly belongs the great work of disintegrating the pure gold of Christianity, from the dogmatical incrustations of the dark and stormy ages of the past. A vast experience has been accumulated; the old philosophies all lie open before us; every department of knowledge is gloriously advanced and of free and inviting entrance ; the ancient countries throw open their rusty gates, and reveal their old memorials, and the laws and customs of early generations. We are not imprisoned in pretended citadels of truth, proudly erected by popes and emperors, and guarded by inquisitions and standing armies; we are not even held in bondage to the fear of presbyters or bishops. We tread the earth as our rightful inheritance. We find no man who can claim to be more than a man, and who is endowed with the right to dictate to us how we are to think, and what we are to believe. Truth is light and life and happiness; she is also strength, authority and might. She will defend herself; she will advance herself; she will uphold her own cause.
She does not depend upon sages, synods and hierarchies. She can live without their logic, their decrees and their excommunications. Unbounded freedom of thought and investigation, she has given to every mind as its birthright; and while she commits her sceptre, made of eternal light, to no meaner hand, she graciously declares : “ Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors; for whoso findeth me, findeth life, and shall obtain favor of the Lord.” Men are ever prone to make to themselves a little world of their own dogmas, and then to fancy that it is the great world of truth. Within these narrow confines, they have the authority of their own past, of their own sages and doctors; here they confidently give their own learned expositions. Here they triumph, and vaunt themselves; here they exclaim : The world is ours,-it yields to our philosophy. But after all, this their world lies within a particular building, or a little neighborhood, or at most in a sect or party. In other buildings and neighborhoods and sects and parties, there are other worlds, with their old authorities, their sages and their doctors.
These are all alike vain pretensions. One of the great characteristics of Christianity is universality. She embraces the world of truth, and she is revealed for the world of man. We
may not, we cannot confine her to a sect or party, or lead her in chains after the triumphal car of some exclusive and proud philosophy. It is not enough that we satisfy ourselves, and meet the inquiries and difficulties of our own party. We must be prepared for all inquiries and for all difficulties. We may bring inquiries to a pause, and smooth over difficulties in the small orb of our own adherents, by appealing to authorities, and repeating the magic words of established expositions, but this does not stop inquiries in other spheres; this does not remove the difficulties of minds determined to think ; this does not scatter the morning light over the broad face of the world.
Let Biblical criticism do for Christianity what legitimate and diligent investigation has done for nature-bring out to view her simple facts. And then, if we proceed to philosophize, let our philosophy be like that of Newton, the outgrowth of the facts under the light of reason.
5. Sacred Rhetoric. This is the Rhetoric of the Bible. In teaching to the people at large Bible truth, we ought to copy the methods and the style of the Bible. When Jesus Christ sent forth his disciples “ to teach all nations,” he had respect to the facts and doctrines of his gospel; and if we seek for a method and style, nothing can be more simple, pure and beautiful than his own.
It would be both a curious and useful work to examine the most celebrated sermons delivered during the different ages
of Christianity. The subjects would be exceedingly various. There would be discourses, scientific, physiological, psychological and ontological. There would be opinions and truths of every kind, mingled indeed with Scripture truths. There would be all varieties of style, but for the most part either a stately and florid eloquence, or an elaborate, didactic and logical stiffness and precision, or loud denunciatory thunder, and polemical satire, keen, vivid and blasting as the lightning. There would indeed be contrasted with these, other sermons constructed after the gospel models, exhibiting a rhetoric learned at the feet of Christ, or in the assemblies where the apostles spake. But we fear they would be comparatively few.
cross of Christ should be made of none effect, but in a style so simple, and in a method so directly the reverse of a philosophical method, as to seem“ foolishness" to worldly and speculative minds, which have not examined the true intent of the gospel, nor comprehended its genuine authority and power. This true intent is to “ convince men of sin, of righteousness and a judgment to come," and to lead them to life and immortality by the cross of Christ : this genuine authority and power are the “wisdom of God and the power of God,” manifested in the original inspirations, and the ever present influences of the Holy Spirit.
O great Head of thy Church, hasten the day, when the mitre of the hierarch and the gown of the philosopher shall be laid aside for the simple garment of salvation ; and thy ministers shall go forth, without contention and in perfect love, thy lowly and faithful lamp-bearers, to fill the world with thy pure light, and thy zealous and untiring messengers of grace, to call in all the poor and wretched to thy marriage feast !
1.-Oxford Divinity, compared with that of the Romish and
Anglican Churches : with a special view to the Illustration of the Doctrine of Justification by Faith, as it was made of primary importance by the Reformers; and as it lies at the foundation of all Scriptural views of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. By the Rt. Rev. Charles Pettit M'Ilvaine, D. D., Bishop of the Prot. Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Ohio. Philadelphia : Joseph Whetham & Son. 1841. pp. 564.
The far-famed Oxford Tracts, or “Tracts for the Times,"
them to the diligent reading and reception of the clergy and laity of that denomination. “Thus," says our author, “has the controversy been forced upon those, who, while the publications were confined to the transatlantic church, and only introduced among us by scanty importations, would have been content to leave it with those to whom it especially belonged, however deeply convinced themselves, that Oxford Divinity was most justly accused.”
The “Oxford Divinity," however, is by no means confined to the “Oxford Tracts." It is found in other writings of various authors, some of whom are known as leaders, others as followers, all disclaiming any association with the Oxford divines, as a school or party. None of these publications contained a full and satisfactory development of the “Divinity” in question. Its parts were disjointed and scattered over a wide surface, and mingled with an attractive display of other matter to which none could object. While thus diffused, no one was responsible for all its peculiarities, nor could it be met excepting at detached and disconnected points. But this embarrassment has been, in some measure, removed by the publication in England, and the reprint in this country, of “A Letter by the Rev. E. B. Pusey, D. D. Regius Professor," etc., addressed to the Bishop of Oxford. The object of this work, -which contains more than two hundred well-filled pages,-is to lay before the Bishop, on behalf of the author and his fel. low-laborers, "an explicit confession" of their faith on the points whereon they have been accused, and especially to vindicate their doctrines from the charge of a tendency to Romanism.
Bishop M'Ilvaine examines the system as here exhibited. Dr. Pusey proclaims it as the via media of the church of England,“ distinct from the by-ways of Ultra-Protestantism on one side, and neither verging towards, nor losing itself in Romanism on the other." By Ultra-Protestantism, a word which occurs with singular frequency in the works of the Oxford divines, our author understands them to mean whatever relates to religion, “negatively or positively, for or against, only excepting Romanism and Oxfordism." And this extended application of the word would seem to be justified by the use of it in Dr. Pusey's “ Letter." The controversy, then, is re