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crude, ingenious or monstrous, gathered from Plato or Aristotle, Zoroaster or Manes, from the Gnostics or the Bhudists and these are the threads of various and strange colors and materials. Such are a vast proportion of the writings of the schoolmen—the subtleties of Duns Scotus, and Magnus Albertus Beatissimus, and a multitude of others.
What prevailed in the days of our fathers is not extinct in our day. A blessed change has indeed come over the church, and is still in progress. But Arminianism, and Pelagianism, and Calvinism, and Hopkinsianism, and Antinomianism, and Emmonism, and Taylorism, and Coleridgeanism, and Transcendentalism, and Old and New Schoolism, and Perfectionism, and other isms are rife in the land. What is the origin of these discussions ? Whence spring these warring opinions? We find not their names in the gospel. Do we find all the opinions they represent, in the gospel ? One thing is certain, that, in these conflicting schools, gospel truths are not at war with each other. Let a philosophical critic examine them, and he plainly discovers the opposing elements of different philosophies. Multitudes of people who have never studied philosophy and who care nothing about it, and who, if you take them upon the plain facts, affirmations and duties of the gospel, are perfectly agreed, are nevertheless divided into alienated parties, respecting consecrated technicalities, and the artificial precision of elaborate confessions. They dispute about words because they are old and favorite words, when they all alike have the older and better things. They give each other foul names upon verbal or philosophical differences, which are unintelligible alike to the unlearned, and, alas ! to not a few of the learned disputants.
While discussions are waxing louder and louder-methinks I hear the voice of the apostle, like a clear, harmonious trumpet, call to draw us away from the battle—“ Now I beseech you brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye
all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” And how shall we effect this ? Let each minister bear in mind. “ Christ sent me
the pure fountain of truth—and in the meekness, plainness, and earnestness of one endeavoring to“save a soul from death." A return to the apostolical models, this, this will bring in the cure, and breathe upon us the balmy breath of peace.
It is to be remarked how the apostle is continually referring to the “ cross of Christ,” or to“ Christ and him crucified. This alone he glories in—this alone he determines to know and preach. It is not difficult to discern the reason. The “cross of Christ,” or “Christ and him crucified” presents us the substance of the gospel. The aim of God in sending his Son was not to institute a splendid hierarchy, nor to establish proud and learned schools of philosophy-nor even to teach the most useful sciences and arts: there was but one aim, a sublimely simple aim—" to seek and to save the lost.” All the divine institutions and arrangements are made for this end. The truths revealed are revealed for this end. The ministers and agencies ordained, are ordained for this end. The rites and ordinances given, are given for this end. No part of the gospel plan is adapted for mere scientifical purposes, for the uses of the world
or for amusing or profound disquisitions ; but all is for salvation—for immortality and life. Hence he who reads, or hears, or professes, and enters upon the practice of, the gospel, can consistently do so only for this end. And so likewise he who preaches the gospel, or takes any measures for its dissemination, can lawfully have no other end in view. It is not for the cause of Apollos, or Paul, or Cephas, but for the cause of Christ alone. O could we thus take and use the gospel, it would indeed be “peace on earth, and good will towards man."
Look at our missionaries. Of different sects, they are still united in preaching the great central doctrine of the cross of Christ. The enemy is so numerous and active that disagreement with each other becomes treason to the common cause. Would we but consider it—there are the same imperative reasons for our agreement at home.
The representation we have given of the ministerial office, assigning it one grade, separates it from the love of power and the competitions of ambition. The representation we have given of the manner of preaching the gospel shuts out from it the ambitious displays of learning, the pomp, profundity and brilliancy of philosophical discussion, and the studied elegans cies of oratory. But is it thence an office of low grade, and of duties affording little scope to the human mind? There
could not be a greater mistake than such an inference. We cannot conceive of a nobler and loftier office than that of a prophet of God, sent to convey his messages to men.
And next to this is the office of repeating these messages by divine commission likewise. Moses and the prophets, Christ and his apostles, and all faithful preachers of the word, in this point of view, form one holy and glorious fellowship. Ministers of the gospel are of one rank, because in the nature of the case they cannot be of different ranks. They are all alike consecrated to a duty which elevates them to a position the most sacred to which man can aspire.
If the work of the ministry were one of mere toilsome benevolence-a teaching of little children or of those as ignorant as children—an active administration of relief to the poor and sick and distressed, of every degree-a mere repetition of a few simple elements of truth, connected with the salvation of the soul, it would be the most honorable and desirable employment of man—it would discipline the soul more worthily and effectually in all its nobler and spiritual faculties—it would yield in the very performance of its duties, the most substantial rewards of inward peace and blessedness, and would secure the glorious hope of the high and immortal destiny of those who turn many to righteousness.” And the work of the ministry does embrace what is here mentioned.
But in addition to all this, the system of truth contained in the Bible, and all its facts and mysteries are so rich and sublime, so uplifting to thought, that he, who dwells amid them, seems to stand in the vestibule of the presence chamber of truth, where he is surrounded with a divine radiance, and enjoys glorious and beautiful prospects, and his ears are filled with the whisperings and echoes of knowledges about to be revealed, and he is waiting in momentary expectation of the call to enter in.
There is also no science or true philosophy, or genuine literature, which is useless to the candidate in preparation for the ministry, or which he may not cultivate advantageously, after he has entered upon it, if he but do so wisely, and use it by right appropriation. The strongest and most cultivated in
Let the reader, if he have taken upon himself this sacred office, pause here, and think of what is committed to him! He is God's ambassador.—He is Christ's minister.—He is sent of the Holy Ghost.—He bears the word of life.—He has the cup of salvation in his hand. He is laboring for the redemption of the soul—to persuade men to flee from the wrath to come, and to lay hold upon eternal life!—“Who is sufficient for these things!" From the depths of penitence and grief for his deficiencies and unworthiness—in the solemn apprehension of this great trust, let him attend to the sublime charge of Paul to Timothy : “I charge thee, therefore, before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing, in his kingdom; preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and doctrine."
THE BIBLE AND ITS LITERATURE.
By Edward Robinson, D. D., Prof. of Bib. Lit., Union Theol. Sem., New-York.
The following article was prepared for delivery before a popular audience, on an occasion,* which of course permitted only a very general outline of the great subject under review. For this reason, several of the topics, and some of them important ones, could be little more than barely enumerated. With this explanation it is now submitted to the public in this form, as intended to present an outline of the nature, the extent, and the importance of the studies embraced under the general appellation of Biblical Literature.
This term, in its general acceptation, and as here employed, embraces all those branches of learning, which bear upon the study, the illustration, and the interpretation of the Holy Scriptures. The object of the department is to train up able and
* The inauguration of the author as Professor in the Union Theological Seminary, New-York, Jan. 20, 1841.-EDITOR.
faithful interpreters of the Word of God. And as the Word of God is the corner-stone of all Christian Theology, so the study and interpretation of that Holy Word, must of right be regarded as the first and fundamental branch of all theological education.
Upon this foundation, Scientific Theology next rears her superstructure of doctrines, and points out their relations and adaptedness to the elements of the human mind and character; and then Practical Theology comes in to show how all these truths and doctrines may be brought home with the greatest power to the heart and conscience of mankind. These are the three great departments of Christian science,-Exegetical, Doctrinal, and Practical. But as all these, again, derive life and vigor from the light of experience, reflected from the pages of history as it recounts the dealings of God with his people in every age, and shows how the truths of the gospel have been promulgated and received ; and the doctrines of the church proposed, adopted, modified, or rejected; so the History of the Church has naturally come to occupy a place as the fourth branch of theological science; not less important and essential than the other three, to every complete system of theological instruction. Such, in fact, is the system upon which all Protestant Schools of Theology in our own or other lands, have usually been founded: first, the study and observation of the Scriptures; next, the scientific arrangement and proof of the doctrines thence derived; and afterwards, the practice and application of the science with its general history. The time has gone by in our country, theoretically at least, when this order was reversed; when the Bible was appealed to merely to supply an illustration for the preacher, or to furnish prooftexts for a system of doctrines already drawn out from the storehouse of human reason.
It has ever been the glory of the Protestant Faith, that it has placed the Scriptures where they ought to be, above every human name, above every human authority. THE BIBLE IS THE ONLY AND SUFFICIENT RULE OF FAITH AND PRACTICE. Such is the fundamental maxim upon which Protestantism has ever rested; and will rest, so long as the truth of God is duly honored. In this maxim we have the very germ and essence of the glorious Reformation, whose seed was sown by Wickliffe, in the fourteenth century; its rising shoots nourished by the blood of Huss and Jerome of Prague in the fifteenth; and its growth brought to