Page images
PDF
EPUB

temple; while the idol, Reason, has been made a substitute for the Shekinah, and the glorious cross obscured as a Galga! The names of Sibbs, Bol. ton, Burroughs, Baxter, Bates, Calamy, Manton, Caryl, Ambrose, Jacomb, Flavel, Mead, and a cloud of others, are now no longer known to this congregation.”* [Here a buzz went through the congregation, concerning the exercise of reason in religion, rational Christianity, and the like.] Be composed,” resumed the speaker; “we come not to make apologies ; we know nothing of fear in avowing the truth. The hallowed mysteries of the Christian faith, now degraded to problems of academical diversion, are like the mysteries of nature, all superior, but never contrary to reason. They abase the pride of reason. Our knowledge is of no account: it was but yesterday, that we wiped our eyes from the darkness of the womb. They all tend to glorify God in the minds of the simple, and shed a hallowing influence on the heart.

“ The doctrines we have taught your fathers are, that man, notwithstanding the grandeur of his intellectual powers, is fallen, depraved, and of himself inclined to evil.' We have taught that the crimes and violence of the old world, proceeded from a mountain of wickedness in the heart. We have told you that their heart was nought, deceitful, and desperately wicked. Their thoughts were always either vain or vile.' We

* The Life of John Goodwin, by the Rev. Thomas Jackson, closely printed in one volume, 8vo. contains abundance of information respecting the times in which the above characters flourished. London, 1822.

have said, that we brought nothing into the world with us, but a nature wretchedly degenerated from its primitive purity and rectitude; that we have from our birth the snares of sin in our bodies, and the seeds of sin in our souls.'Henry's Com. Gen. vi. 5; Psal. li. 5. Now Pythagorean refinement is substituted for original sin, which is yet more deformed in passing through your Reviews; that God sends a neutral soul into the body of the fætus. Is he then a neutral God, and equally destitute of holiness and sin? Can a body grow to a certain magnitude before it has received a soul? Has the anatomical philosophy of any College of Surgeons ever sanctioned the like opinion? The philosophers of the east seem to have had no motive in resorting to this notion, but to justify God in afflicting the innocent; but you have ingenious designs; you would fain palliate the idea, that man in his passions, and wars, and crimes, is precisely the animal that heaven created. This opinion has been fully condemned by the Saviour, when he said, “This man hath not sinned, (in any such state,) nor yet have his parents,' so as to occasion the young man's being born blind. John ix. 3.

“We have taught you, that man, thus depraved, must be born again; born from above; born of the Spirit.'

We have said, that the law must be written on the heart of believers by the Spirit, as it was formerly written on tables of stone.' We have said, that our love to God must be strong as death; that it must be an entire love; that he must be served with all the heart; that we must love nothing besides the Lord, but what we love for his sake, and in subordination to his will.Henry on Jer. xxxvi. 34; Luke x. 25. Now, when pressed on the necessity of the Divine influences to regain the Divine image, you coldly admit, that “Being born again does really signify, the gaining of those habits of virtue which make us the children of God.'-Dr. John Taylor's Doctrine of Original Sin, page 246. This truly is a hard task. It was a task insupportable to the heathen, because all kinds of vice are in all men, though every vice in each be not apparent.'* It was a task insupportable to the Jews, as St. Paul, according to Doddridge and all the Greek fathers, has delivered in a figure of the carnal man, in the seventh chapter of his epistle to the Romans.

“ But why stay to talk of the ruin and recovery of man? Why should the friend at my elbow with pious cares write a volume under that title, while the divine existence of either Redeemer or Sanctifier is altogether denied ? If crucifying the body of the Saviour brought many of the saints from the dead, what must be expected when men who call themselves Christians, crucify the Lord of Glory? All his evangelical Hymns and Psalms are banished from your desks. It is then time,-it is high time to cover ourselves with the shield of faith, and with a dauntless reverence put the grand questions—What think ye of Christ ? Whose Son is he?

* Omnia in omnibus vitia sunt, sed non omnia in singulis extant. Seneca de Benefac. lib. iv. cap. 7.

“ On this subject, a succession of men, whose fathers once knew the truth, have deteriorated in opi. nion, and with much confusion of language. In Dr. Harewood's version we read, 'the word was a Divine Person. This word Person being disrelished, you have, in your catechism, given the Saviour all the honour which you think he ought to have: when the question is asked, “Who was Jesus Christ ? the child replies, 'the founder of the Christian religion.' To put the Saviour thus on a sort of level with the founders of philosophical and religious sects, being revolting to many Unitarians, who are still better Christians in their hearts than their heads, the answer is now altered in the Bristol edition, but the sense is still retained.

A man of Birmingham, whose blaze expired like a meteor, has very freely delivered his opi. nion of Christ. In his letters to the Jews, he says, the history of the miraculous conception of Jesus does not appear to me to be sufficiently authenticated.-Your sacred books, as well as ours, being written by men, neither of them can be expected to be entirely free from mistakes, or exempt from interpolations. Myself, and many other Christians, are no believers in the miraculous conception of Jesus, but are of opinion that he was the legitimate son of Joseph.'—Letter iv.

P. 40.

“ To hear this man talk in his pride, and deliver his dictates with airs of superiority to all that is sacred, requires a forbearance more than human. God himself complains of men who were bold in

[ocr errors]

speech. Isai. xxviii. 15. • Hear, O Heavens, and give ear, O earth ; behold I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me.

“ Amid this fluctuation of opinion, 'he only is wise who adheres to the letter of truth as the foundation of all his hope. The original promise remains as a corner-stone which cannot be moved, • the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head.' Agreeably to which it is said, 'God sent forth his Son into the world made of a woman.' God was manifest in the flesh. Gen. iii. 15; Gal. iv. 4'; 1 Tim. iii. 16. When Ramaliah, king of Samaria, had formed a confederacy with Rezin, king of Damascus, to cut off the house of David, Isaiah was sent to encourage Ahaz and his army with the promise of victory, and to give them a sign. When Ahaz declined asking a sign, the prophet added, the Lord himself shall give you a sign: Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel.' Here we are required to abandon our reason, and even the letter of the text is wrong translated, and misunderstood. The word noby, gnalma, rendered Topbevos, puella, or virgin, by the Seventy, means a married woman!!! On turning to the following texts, we find the word absolutely is understood of women unmarried. Gen. xxiv. 16, 43; Exod. ii. 8; Psal. 68, 25; Song of Sol. i. 3, vi. 8; Prov. xxx. 19.

If it mean a married woman, why say, “Behold ??

Why call it a sign ?' Why call this son · Immanuel ?' Why offer this insult to the current language of the scriptures,

« PreviousContinue »